Status: Least Concern
Names: matako-4 or four-corner berry
Appearance: its purple, star-shaped flowers appear in summer, followed by distinctive four-lobed berries (from where it gets its common names "matako 4" "crossberry" and "four-corner"). The simple leaves are shiny, deep green and sometimes slightly hairy.
Grewia occidentalis, the crossberry, is a small deciduous tree reaching a height of about 3 m, hardy, attractive fruit tree indigenous to Southern Africa. These shiny reddish-brown fruits remain on the tree for long periods and are favoured by fruit-eating birds.
The berries are eaten locally, either fresh and raw, fermented with traditional beer, or used with goats milk to make berry yoghurt.
This decorative garden plant tolerates both light frost and drought. It also grows in both full sun or shade. The root system is not aggressive and can therefore be planted near buildings and paving, and it is very good at attracting butterflies and birds to the garden. The crossberry is best propagated from seed, although even then it can be erratic, as usually the seed needs to pass through the gut of a monkey before germination commences.
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