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Grewia flavescens


Water Needs

dry; water wise; drought hardy

Grewia flavescens
Shrub large; Tree small
Sandpaper Raisin

5 m


Light Conditions





Yellow; December – March; summer; autumn

Garden Situation

rockery gravel; sun; dry soil; windy exposed; screen; small area tree; slope bank; sandy soils; shrubbery; fast-growing easy-care; wildlife birds bees insects butterfly host; clay soils;


hot dry; rocky places; urban streets


subtropical East Coast; Highveld; Bushveld savanna

Rain Season


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This 5 m high Sandpaper Raisin is the choice for small bushveld gardens. This multi-stemmed shrub or small tree makes an excellent screening shrub as part of a wildlife thicket in drier gardens up north, where it is usually found on termite mounds, rocky koppies, and in forest margins. A hardy frost resistant shrub that adapts well to a variety of conditions. Leaves are bright green and oval in shape, averaging 70 x 30 mm in size with a pointed tip, rough and hairy to the touch, with irregular serrations along the margin. 3 conspicuous veins radiate outwards from the base, a common feature of South African Grewia species. Flowers are a bright yellow, with surrounding sepals that are larger and often flushed pink with a centre filled with a thick mass of long yellow stamens. The 5 slender petals often curl backwards. Fruits form singly on short stalks, commonly made up of 2 shallow lobes. Flowering season is summer into autumn (December to March) Wildlife common to the natural habitats of this plant; warthogs, antelopes and baboons and birds, eat the fruits. The stomach acid softens the hard outer casing improving the chances of germination. This species is an excellent choice for new gardens, as they attract a broad range of birds (hornbills love them) whose droppings will seed a number of indigenous species from the surrounding area. Though evergreen under ideal conditions, it can be leafless for up to 3 months where rain is infrequent and temperatures very low. The fruits and leaves of Grewia flavescens are used as food in rural areas of Africa, resulting in the over-exploitation of wild species. For this reason, the Donkey Berry is being investigated as a potential farming crop in Niger. Fruits are said to contain fibre, carbohydrates, amino acids and iron, and could be an excellent dietary supplement in rural areas. (Advanced Journal of Food Science and Technology 2(3): 159-162, 2010) Images: Bart Wursten Zimbabwe Flora

Grewia flavescens
Grewia flavescens
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