Diospyros mespiliformis

Fruits and leaves of Diospyros mespiliformis

Diospyros mespiliformis is a plant belonging to the family of the ebony family ( Ebenaceae ).


It occurs in savanna areas in tropical and southern Africa, often on termite mounds, in semi- evergreen dry forests, gallery forests or in sandstone formations.


In Diospyros mespiliformis is an evergreen tree, the plant height of 25 meters or more achieved; rarely it grows as a shrub with plant height up to 3 meters. It forms a spreading, rounded treetop. The bark is dark brown to black. The bark of young branches is hairy woolly pink. The change-constant leaves are simple. The elliptical leaf blade is 6 × 2.2 to 14 × 4.5 cm with a distinct midrib and branching off in 45 ° angle 15 to 20 pairs of lateral nerves. The lower leaf surface is hairy.

Diospyros mespiliformis is dioecious getrenntgeschlechtig ( dioecious ). The unisexual flowers are four to fünfzählig. The four to five sepals are fused, with triangular 0.15 cm long calyx lobes. The four to five, outside woolly hairy, white petals are fused into a 0.5 cm long corolla tube, which ends in 0.1 cm long Kronlappen. The male flowers are in threes at the ends of only 0.4 to 0.6 cm long Blütenstandsschäften in the leaf axils of reduced leaves or normal leaves to one-year branches. In the male flowers stamens are about 14, 0.4 cm long, yet that does not protrude beyond the petals with 0.1 cm long stamens, and there are tiny, woolly haired rudimentary stamp available. The slightly larger female flowers are usually solitary, rarely in pairs to three in the axils of reduced leaves on the basis of one year's branches. The female flowers have six to twelve 0.4 cm long staminodes. The ovary has a diameter of 0.3 cm with four or six ovary chambers. The scar is located directly on the ovary.

The spherical, warty, yellowish to maturity berry has a diameter of about 2.5 cm, is pointed up and still surrounded at the base of the back curved, heavily corrugated sepals. The fruit contains three to six reddish- brown seeds.


The hard, fungus and termite resistant wood is under the name "African ebony" in the trade. However, it is also used as firewood and for charcoal production.

Known as "jackal berry" in southern Africa fruits are eaten or processed into alcoholic beverages.


  • F. White: Ebenaceae in Flora Zambesiaca, Volume 7, 1983, Diospyros mespiliformis online.