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Mimusops zeyheri

   (Family: Sapotaceae)
Afrikaans: Moepel English: Transvaal red milkwood N. Sotho: mmupudu Tsonga: Nhlantswa Venda: Mubululu Zulu: umPushane  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Tree
Height: 15m
Rarity Status:
Preferred rainfall: Summer
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Flowering time EDIT
x x               x x x
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower shape
  Flower info
  Small, white, sweetly scented flowers
Leaf shape EDIT
Leaf type
Leaf texture Smooth
  Leaf info EDIT
  The leaves are glossy, dark green and carried on a spreading crown, which could easily be as wide as the tree is high.
Fruit colour
  Seed info EDIT
  Fruits are oval with a pointed tip ripening yellow or orange from April to September.
Description EDIT
A potentially a large, evergreen tree with a rounded crown which may reach up to 15 m under ideal conditions. It is, however, often encountered as a shrub or small tree in its natural range and only reaches its full potential in protected valleys and forest margins where moisture is more available.

It makes large, neat, deep green canopies, which offer shade to weary hikers in the African savanna as well as provide cool shade in the home garden.
Growing EDIT
The wide range of natural occurrence suggests that it would be ideally suited to cultivation in summer rainfall areas of meduim to lower altitude areas where frost is minimal or absent.

Easily cultivated and best utilized in larger gardens and open spaces. They may be used as individual specimen trees or groupings of several specimens where space permits.

The seed should be extracted from the fleshy fruit and sown fresh for best results. Seed have a high viability and germination begins within two weeks of sowing. The seedlings may be left in the seedling trays until the following spring or pricked out at the two-leaf stage into individual containers.

Growth rate of seedlings is fast and saplings of a metre or more can be obtained within three to four years of sowing. Rapid development under nursery conditions can be promoted by the use of balanced horticultural fertilizers. During this time the plants should be promoted to progressively larger containers to prevent root bounding.

Saplings are usually ready to be planted out after four or more years from sowing, at which time attention should be given to the planting hole. Mix good compost with the back filling soil and add bone meal or tree planting tablets to the bottom of the hole. Saplings can be watered well for the first year, gradually reducing irrigation over the ensuing two to three years to ensure the development of a deep root system.

In higher lying areas young trees should be protected against frost for the first three years while the tree becomes acclimatized and attains some height to offer more resistance to mild or moderate frost; this species will not survive any extreme degree of frost.
Distribution EDIT
This tree occurs across a wide range including the four northern provinces of South Africa as well as Kwa-Zulu Natal, Swaziland and Mozambique . It also extends northwards into Zimbabwe and tropical Africa . It occurs naturally on rocky outcrops, wooded hillsides, riverine and forest fringes as well as in open, dry woodland and bushveld.
History EDIT
The botanical name is derived from the Greek mimo meaning ape, and ops meaning resembling an ape. Some authors have speculated that this may be in reference to the colour of the flowers or the shape of the corolla. (Schmidt et al. 2002). The specific epithet honours C.L.P. Zeyher (1799-1858), a German botanist and collector of plants particularly in southern Africa.
It is a popular bonsai subject and may also be attractive as an indoor plant. It is said to have a root system which is safe for planting near swimming pools, buildings and paving.
Ecology EDIT
Nymph as well as Commodore butterflies breed on trees belonging to the milkwood family. The Pied False Acraea breeds specifically on this tree (Venter & Venter 1996). Certain caterpillars are known to spin webs around the branches in autumn under which they devour the leaves, often defoliating the tree. Baboons, frugivorous birds as well as people favour the sweet fruits while antelope and elephants browse the leaves. Vervet and Somango monkeys climb eagerly in the tree in search of sweet, ripe fruit and knock many to the ground in the process.Fruit which falls to the ground will be eaten by bushpigs, and other mammals which cannot climb the tree such as small and large antelope. The tree relies upon these animals to eat the fruit and carry it some distance for effective seed dispersal.
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