This week we are looking at the Transvaal milkplum or Stamvrug, best known for its edible fruit that can be distilled into the truly South African mampoer!

This small to medium size, evergreen tree normally grows to a height of 2 – 4 m, but can reach up to 15m depending on the habitat it grows in.  The densely leafed tree has glossy, dark green leaves that are clustered towards the branch ends and its bark is grey and slightly scaly.  The main stem of the Stamvrug is short and crooked and the crown is round and compact.  Young twigs or branchlets are covered with russet-brown hairs.

Sweet smelling clusters of pinkish flowers are produced from winter into early summer and are borne directly on the stem of the tree.  These are followed by fleshy, red fruit which appeals to animal and human alike.  The fruit is often used for making syrups and jams and of course to produce the strong, alcoholic drink mampoer.

This attractive tree is a slow grower, but very hardy and can handle frost and drought conditions.  The Englerophytum magalismontanum is ideal for use on rocky outcrops or close to a rockery in your garden.