BlueGnu - Explore South Africa's many tourist attractions

Marula

Afrikaans name: Maroela

A young Marula Tree in Berg-en-dal camp in Kruger National Park

Photo © Steven Herbert

Sclerocarya birrea

The Marula is a well-known tree that can grow to a height of around 18 metres. They tend to have a straight crown and rounded canopy.

The fruit of the Marula tree are its main claim to fame amongst man and animal alike. The fruit ripens in summer. They are yellow on the outside with white flesh and a hard nut inside. The fruit and seed kernels are eaten by various African tribes and the fruit can be made into an alcoholic beverage. Various mammals and birds feed off the fruit. There are many stories about mammals such as Elephant getting drunk from eating fermenting fruit but these do not appear to be true.

Various parts of the Marula tree are reputed to have medicinal properties including treatment of malaria, relief from stings and pesticides. The wood of the Marula is soft and is used for carving while the inner parts of the bark can be used to make rope.

Leaves of a Marula Tree

Photo © Steven Herbert

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