The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Common Crow-Berry

Afrikaans name: Gewone Kraaibessie

Leaves of a Common Crow-Berry Tree

Leaves of the Common Crow-Berry tree

Photo © Steven Herbert

Rhus pentheri

The Common Crow-Berry is also known as the Crowberry Currant-Rhus. They occur in a band from Kentani in the Eastern Cape, through KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Mpumalanga and Limpopo. They can be found in drier areas along forest edges and in bushveld regions.

It is a small dense tree that grows to a height of anywhere between 2 and 6 metres. The main stems are rough and dark brown in colour. The leaves can be up to 4.5 cm in length and are dark green on top. The underside is more olive. They occur in groups of 3 with the middle one being longer than the side ones.

The flowers of the Common Crow-Berry are small, yellow, star-shaped, and appear amongst the leaves. They appear during spring and summer. The slightly fleshy fruit looks like a flattened grape. The skin is glossy, and the colour of the fruit varies between orange-brown and dark brown.

Various mammals eat the roots and leaves of the tree. Some people enjoy eating the fruit. The wood is not commonly used for any purpose.

Bark of a Common Crow-Berry Tree

Bark of the Common Crow-Berry tree

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

Trees of Southern Africa - 3rd edition - Author: Keith Coates Palgrave - Published: 2002 - Page: 579

The Complete Field Guide to Trees of Natal, Zululand and Transkei - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 1994 - Page: 258

Sappi Tree Spotting: KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape - 2nd edition - Author: Val Thomas and Rina Grant - Published: 2004 - Page: 162


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