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Common Names: Bird Plum, Makumba, Mtacha, Mwii, Mwinji 
Family: Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)

Growth Form, Habitat and Distribution 
A semi-deciduous shrub, scrambler, but usually a tree, branches trending upwards and then laterally producing a umbrella-like crown. Confined to the drier eastern, southern and western parts of Zambia and the shores of the northern lakes, but widely scattered. Often on termite mounds, riverine forest and on sandier soils, but occasionally in Mopane woodland.

Size    Height up to 18m, spread 8 to 12m.
Bark    Dark grey, or black with vertical fissures (sometimes twisted) and irregularly sized scales.
Leaves    Simple, alternate, leathery, elliptic to oblong-elliptic, 5 to 11cm, shiny green above, paler below and sometimes hairy on the obvious herring-bone veins, tapering to the apex base rounded. Petiole 1 to 1.5cm. 
Flowers    Small, greenish-yellow, on slender stalks, or profuse (up to 10), loose axillary clusters, October to February.
Fruit    Oblong, yellow, smooth, edible, ovoid fruits (2cm), containing two seeds, ripening February to May.
Uses    The yellow wood is one of the hardest timbers in Central Africa. A good “bee tree” and the fruit are much favoured, with a high Vitamin C content. 
Other species in Zambia: None. 11 other species occur across Africa, East Asia and western north America.

Berchemia discolor

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