The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Red Currant

Afrikaans name: Bos-taaibos

Red Currant

Above - Unripe fruit of the Red Currant

Photo © Steven Herbert

Rhus chirindensis

The Red Currant tree is an attractive tree, particularly during autumn when its leaves become reddish-brown. They normally grow to a height of 10 metres or less but some trees can reach double this height.

During spring and summer they develop sprays of small yellowish-green flowers and fruit develops between December and March. Initially the fruit, which is borne in large bunches, is green but it becomes reddish-brown when ripe. Individual trees are either male or female and only female trees bear fruit.

The fruit of the Red Currant is eaten by most fruit-eating birds as well as Vervet Monkeys. The leaves are eaten by various mammals including Kudu, Bushbuck, Nyala and Black Rhino.

The wood of this tree is used to make furniture. Traditionally the sap of the Red Currant has been used for treating various heart problems.

Red Currant

Above - Leaves of the Red Currant 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: 250

Trees of Southern Africa - 3rd edition - Author: Keith Coates Palgrave - Published: 2002 - Page: 567

Tsitsikama Trees - Author: Prof. HB Rycroft - Published: 1980 - Page: 52

A Field Guide to the Trees of Southern Africa - Author: E. Palmer - Published: 1983 - Page: 207

Everyones Guide to Trees of South Africa - Author: Keith, Paul and Meg Coates Palgrave - Published: 1989 - Page: 58

Pocket Guide - Trees of Southern Africa - Author: Piet van Wyk - Published: 2013 - Page: 80

Sappi Tree Spotting: KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape - 2nd edition - Author: Val Thomas and Rina Grant - Published: 2004 - Page: 270


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