SelecTree: Tree Detail

SOUTH AFRICAN WILD PLUM
Harpephyllum caffrum

Harpephyllum caffrum Harpephyllum caffrum Harpephyllum caffrum Harpephyllum caffrum Harpephyllum caffrum Harpephyllum caffrum Harpephyllum caffrum Harpephyllum caffrum Harpephyllum caffrum

Photo Locations: San Diego Zoo - San Diego, CA, Cal Poly State University - San Luis Obispo, CA and Franceschi Park - Santa Barbara, CA

General Notes

Its drooping leaves and heavy rounded crown makes for a good shade tree. New growth is red. Its sour, plum-like fruit is used to make jams, jellies and wine. Plenty of planting space should be used in Southern California as it is observed to have invasive roots in the wider Los Angeles region.  Conflicting information on root damage potential in other regions suggest one should error on the side of caution.

Native to Southern Africa.

Trees may be referred to as male or female.

Family: Anacardiaceae

Additional Common Names

SOUTH AFRICAN WILD PLUM, WILD PLUM, KAFFIR PLUM

Tree Characteristics

Erect or Spreading with a Low Canopy.

Oval or Rounded Shape.

Has Evergreen foliage.

Height: 40 - 50 feet.

Width: 40 - 50 feet.

Growth Rate: 36 Inches per Year.

Longevity 40 to 150 years.

Leaves Pinnately Compound Odd, Glossy Dark Green, No Change, Evergreen.

Flowers Inconspicuous. Green or White. Flowers in Spring. Has either male or female flowers (dioecious). Trees may be sold as male or female.

Red Drupe, Medium (0.50 - 1.50 inches), fruiting in Summer Edible and Wildlife use it.

Bark Dark Brown or Light Gray, Rough.

Shading Capacity Rated as Moderate in Leaf.

Litter Issue is Wet Fruit.

Tree Site Conditions & Constraints

Sunset Zones 17, 19 and 21 - 24.

USDA Hardiness Zones 10.

Exposure Full Sun to Partial Shade.

Moist Soil.

Loam or Sand Texture.

Slightly Acidic to Neutral Soil pH.

Salinity Tolerance is Coastal Good.

Seaside Tolerance is Good in Mild Zone.

Health, Safety & Environmental Concerns

Branch Strength Rated as Medium.

Root Damage Potential Rated as High.

None Known Health Hazard.

Biogenic Emissions considered Moderate.

Wildlife use Fruit.

Special Uses & Values

Screen.

Cite this tree:
SelecTree. "Harpephyllum caffrum Tree Record." 1995-2018. Jun 24, 2018.
< https://selectree.calpoly.edu/tree-detail/harpephyllum-caffrum >

This tree is not part of the SelecTree Nursery Connection. If you would like to see this tree listed, or know of a nursery that sells it, please contact us at ufei@calpoly.edu.