Diospyros lyciodes subsp. guerkei is a deciduous, large shrub or small tree growing to about 5m. Often a pioneer tree on the Highveld grasslands, being first to colonize open areas and then provide shelter to other less hardy tree and shrub species.

Suitable to be used to form an informal screening hedge or pruned up to form a small shade tree. The attractive, edible fruit is tasty and extremely popular with fruit-eating birds.

A very draught and cold-hardy tree.

Dyspyros lyciodes guerkei shrub.

Family:                       EBENACEAE       (Ebony family)

Name Derivation:

 Diospyros – (Greek) Dios – divine or godly, and pyrium, pear, so ‘divine pear’ referring to the tasty fruits of some species.

lycioides – like Lycium, a genus of the Salonaceae (Potato family), possibly referring to its  form and shape of the leaves.

guerkei – honoring RLAM Gurke (1854-1911) a German botanist who was particularly interested in African Ebenaceae (Ebony family)

Common Names:           Bushveld bluebush, star apple (Eng), bosveldbloubos (Afr), motloumana (Nso), umchafutane (Swa), letlhajwa (Tsw), muthala  (Ven), and umnqandane (Zul)

SAF Number:                  605.2   


Features of Diospyros lycioides subsp. guerkei

Diospyro lyciodes guerkei has rather smooth grey bark.

Diospyros lyciodes guerkei has a rather smooth grey bark.


A large shrub 0r small, single or multi-stemmed tree.

Size:                 2 -4 m ( –7m) by 2 – 4 m

Stem and Bark:

  • Single or muti-stemmed.
  • Bark is quite smooth and grey.

Thorns:          No thorns.