Dovyalis caffra Warb.

Spiny shrub or small tree with glossy, oblong-ovate leaves and inconspicuous green or yellow flowers, followed by edible spherical fruits, to 4cm in diameter, with an apricot odour. To 6m. [RHSD, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘This is a tall evergreen shrub belonging to the order Bixaceae, and known botanically as Aberia caffra. It is indigenous to Caffraria and Natal, as also other parts of South Africa, the fruit being highly appreciated by the natives of those countries. The fruit is the size of a small Apple, in colour is a rich golden yellow, and has a palatable flavour when used fresh, and is excellent when cooked or preserved. It has rich green foliage, and is worthy of cultivation as an ornamental plant, independent of its value as a fruit. As the plant has strong spines it is also very suitable for hedges. It will thrive in any part of Australasia excepting regions where frosts are severe. Propagation is readily effected by either seed, layers, or ripened cuttings of the current season’s wood.’ [Crichton - The Australasian Fruit Culturist vol.2, p.115/1893].

A line drawing appears in Wilson Popenoe’s Manual of Tropical and Sub-tropical Fruits [p.442/1920], used as illustration here.

History at Camden Park

Listed only in the 1843 and 1845 catalogues as ‘Kie-Apple, as Africa fruit’. Probably introduced directly from the Cape of Good Hope.


Placed in Bixaceae by earlier authors.

Published Jun 06, 2010 - 04:47 PM | Last updated Jun 06, 2010 - 04:56 PM

The line drawing shows a shoot with stout spines, leaves  round fruit. Manual of Tropical and Sub-tropical Fruits p.442, 1920.

Manual of Tropical and Sub-tropical Fruits p.442/1920 | BHL

More details about Dovyalis caffra Warb.
Family Flacourtiaceae
Region of origin

Southern Africa, including the Cape

  • Aberia caffra Harv. & Sond.
  • Aberia edulis T.Anders.
Common Name

Kei Apple, Umkokola

Name in the Camden Park Record

Kie-Apple, an Africa fruit

Confidence level high