Fruit Bearing Group

Fruit Bearing Group.

The fruit bearing group needs little or no introduction, we all know how well birds can feast on our fruit trees, especially figs.  I am very much in favour of planting indigenous plants for some good reasons. The most critical reason is to limit the spread of alien plants. A large number of our alien invaders are as a result of fruit and seed distribution via birds. I would even go so far as to recommend endemic planting, as introducing species to areas in the country where they do not naturally occur could be as damaging as some of the plants introduced from other countries or continents.  Another reason is that our indigenous plants are adapted to the feeding habits of our birds and even if they descend in droves on a particular plant, the damage is often minimal and the loss of fruit hardly noticeable, as opposed to the decimation of your favourite peach tree.

 Some of the highly recommended species in this group are:


All Ficus Species –

In colder areas the Large-leaved Rock Fig (Ficus abutilifolia) and Red-leaved Fig (Ficus Ingens) being two good species. Ficus Ingens has a natural distribution across the rocky outcrops of the Highveld. Please just be very wary that most Ficus species become very large and have intrusive root systems.

Large-leavd Rock Fig on Plantzafrica

Wild peach (Kiggelaria africana) –

The tree grows well in cold areas and produces greenish capsules in late summer to mid-winter, which splits to expose shiny black seeds, enclosed in a  sticky, bright orange-red flesh. The fruit attracts Crowned Hornbill, Olive Woodpecker, thrushes, robins-chats, white-eye, Southern Boubou and mousebirds.

Red ivory (Berchemia zeyheri) –

This tree is drought resistant but not frost resistant. It is evergreen and bears red-brown fruits in late summer. The fruits are sweet and delicious, and are a treat for many people even when dried.  Black-eyed bulbuls, Crested, Pied and Black-collared barbets, Red-winged starlings, Grey louries, African Olive and Green Pigeons find the fruit irresistible.

Red Ivory on Plantzafrica

White Stinkwood (Celtis africana) –

In addition to being a good insect tree, it is also a very good fruit tree, producing masses of black berries.

Cross-berry (Grewia occidentalis) –

This is a shrub or small tree which attracts both birds and butterflies. It grows across the country and as it has non intrusive roots can be planted close to houses or paving.

Cross Berry on Plantzafrica


A young Common Wild Fig

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