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The jacket plum, also referred to as bushveld cherry, Indaba or Doppruim, could be a worthy addition to any garden irrespective of what a part of the country you reside in. It can tolerate both cold and warm climates as well as prolonged periods of drought. It can be grown as a specimen tree or as a feature within your garden, as it is useful as a street tree or for shade in parking lots because it doesn’t have an aggressive root system. Its attractive pale grey stem often has patches of darker colours. Because it seldom attains tremendous dimensions it also lends itself to being employed in townhouse gardens. It develops a closed, dense crown under cultivation in areas of upper rainfall, which creates a cool shady place for a garden bench.
The red fruit of this tree may be a tasty treat for humans and a firm favourite with birds and animals. A fine oil is extracted from the seeds. The jacket plum is related to the litchi and may be a natural addition for the bird or wildlife garden. It is easily cultivated, although slow-growing in colder climates. The new leaves are a sexy pinky-bronze after they emerge in spring, this contrasts well with the dark green of the old leaves making a pretty display.
The jacket plum may be a long-lived, hardy, evergreen, small to medium tree with a height of 2-8 m. Under ideal conditions it can grow at a moderate rate but may be slow-growing under dry and/or cold conditions.
The fruit of the jacket plum fruit tree is extremely unique, because it is a capsule which splits in half when ripe and discloses the seed, which is roofed in a very thin layer of bright orange fruit flesh. The capsules start being a velvety green then turns brown when ripe. Fruits are eaten by various frugivorous birds and animals which successively distribute the seeds in their droppings.
The leaves are browsed by game like elephant, giraffe, kudu, nyala, bushbuck, and gray duiker still as domestic stock animals. The jacket plum has also been recorded as the larval food plant to the caterpillars of the subsequent butterflies of southern Africa:
Common hairtail butterfly (Anthene definita definita) Brown playboy butterfly (Virachola antalus) Pearlspotted charaxes (Charaxes jahlusa) Gold-banded forester (Euphaedra neophron)
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