in open woodland at medium altitudes (trees have been reported as thriving at 700-2,000 m). It seems to grow poorly at low elevations, although that may be due solely to temperature. Indeed, the plant is so frost sensitive its presence is used as an absolute indicator of frost-free zones.

Fruits are borne in clusters close to the stem. Their hard skin reddens as it ripens. Although renowned for surviving in dry areas, the most succulent fruits are said to come from wetter areas, e.g., eastern districts of Zimbabwe, where the rainfall is fair, the land slopes, and surface water drains well. Fruit here is said to ripen evenly on trees and not to need any special treatment.

Mohobohobo is a nutritious food. The ripe edible part is especially high in vitamin C (1.8 mg per g of pulp)—higher even than guava.

It is not just Zimbabwe that admires these fruits extravagantly. In Zambia masuku are much sought after, and for part of the year they can basically underpin the diet. The fruits are also commonly seen across Malawi, although by default the trees generally occupy the drier and poorer soils.

Reportedly, certain trees have exceptionally sweet fruits. In addition, it has been said that most trees bear a particularly heavy crop every second year. This may reflect the genetic condition known as alternate bearing or may result solely from cyclical environmental stresses on the plants.

The timber is attractive, with a reddish color and fine grain. It works easily and takes a high polish. It is fairly resistant to termites, and so is used for construction purposes. It provides a good charcoal, also.

Uapaca heudelotii Baillon

This West African tree—an evergreen up to 30 m—bears strongly scented flavorful fruits containing three seeds. It extends from rainforest regions into wetter parts of the savannas. Throughout its range, people not only value the fruits, they revere the charcoal from the wood, considering it the finest of all. Goldsmiths and silversmiths throughout the area seek it out.

Uapaca nitida Muell. Arg.

A small to medium sized evergreen tree reaching 10 m or more in height, this widespread species is found in Central and southern Africa, including Congo, Burundi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Angola. Its ovoid fruits are three-celled and up to 2 cm long. When ripe, they are yellow-brown and tasty, but not as tasty as the mohobohobo, which overlaps its geographical range.

The wood is used for framing beds and as a structural timber. Charcoal made from it also has a high reputation.



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