The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa


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

Bark of a Marula Tree

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

The Complete Field Guide to Trees of Natal, Zululand and Transkei - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 1994 - Page: 240

The Gardener - 2021/01 - Author: - Published: 2021 - Page: 57

The Natal Bushveld - Volume 1 - Author: Natal Parks Board - Published: 1981 - Page: 71

Trees of Southern Africa - 3rd edition - Author: Keith Coates Palgrave - Published: 2002 - Page: 539

Wild Issue 30 - Author: - Published: 2015 - Page: 76

Pocket Guide - Trees of Southern Africa - Author: Piet van Wyk - Published: 2013 - Page: 75

Sappi Tree Spotting: KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape - 2nd edition - Author: Val Thomas and Rina Grant - Published: 2004 - Page: 204

Sappi Tree Spotting: Lowveld - Author: Jacana - Published: 1997 - Page: 92

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Published: 1991 - Page: 165

Sasol First Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 1999 - Page: 49

Sappi Wild Flower Guide - Mpumalanga and Northern Province - Author: Jo Onderstall - Published: 1996 - Page: 120

Piet van Wyks Field Guide to the Trees of the Kruger National Park - 1st edition - Author: Piet van Wyk - Published: 1988 - Page: 138

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 391

Kruger - Portrait of a National Park - Author: David Paynter with Wilf Nussey - Published: 1986 - Page: 24

Country Life - Issue 218 - Author: - Published: 2014 - Page: 98

Everyones Guide to Trees of South Africa - Author: Keith, Paul and Meg Coates Palgrave - Published: 1989 - Page: 54

Field Guide to the Trees of the Kruger National Park - 5th edition - Author: Piet van Wyk - Published: 2008 - Page: 138

Game Ranger in your Backpack - Author: Megan Emmett and Sean Pattrick - Published: 2013 - Page: 302

A Field Guide to the Trees of Southern Africa - Author: E. Palmer - Published: 1983 - Page: 196

A site-by-site guide to trees in the Kruger National Park - Author: Marissa Greeff - Published: 2017 - Page: 136


Got a comment about the content on this page?

This website features affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you purchase through these links.

Copyright Steven Herbert Projects, 2013 - 2023. All rights reserved.

Privacy Policy - FAQ - Terms of use