We mark the occasion with Marula, Sclerocarya birrea – Tree of the Year 2019. The flowers on male and female trees are totally different. The fruit ripening on females, from January to March, is both nutritious and delicious, with a high vitamin C content and is loved not only by humans but many animals, birds and insects. Ripe fruits may be eaten whole, made into jelly, juice or fermented to form a sour beer.
Marula still plays an important role in the economy of parts of the Limpopo province and Phalaborwa has an annual Marula Festival at the end of February.
Photos by Ernst Schmidt and Val Thomas. Illustation of female flower by Joan van Gogh. Copy by Bernie Spencer.