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Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Indigenous Beauties : Cross Berry

Its easy to find plants to admire this time of the year, when everything is looking so lush and green, and every plant is bursting with extravagant flowers.

Grewia occidentalis
Cross Berry

The Cross Berry (Grewia occidentalis) though, is one of those plants that seem to be easily over-looked. Its never one for histrionics. The flowers which start in Summer, are never showy, but are always pretty. Birds and butterflies are not superficial however, and know a Grewia's real value and will often be found eating the 4-lobed fruit from which it derives its name.

It ranges in height from 2-5m, and will grow in Sun or Shade. It is semi-deciduous - in optimum conditions it won't lose too many leaves. Its a great tree for a small garden, and will often form more than one stem. It looks even better when planted to form a grove of Cross Berries.

If you're looking for other small trees for small gardens, check this previous post.


TYRA Hallsénius Lindhe said...

Very beautiful flower, when I look at it it made wonder if your Jacaranda trees are in bloom now? If it is would you please post som pictures :-) They are so heavenly/ LOL Tyra

Garden Wise Guy said...

Ross - Grewia is one of my "go to" plants when I need something tough as nails and zero care. Not sure why you say it isn't showy. When fully in bloom it more than contributes to the floral color scheme. We have a different common name - Lavender Star Flower. Thanks for making an example of it!

stoneware70 said...

Thanks for the comments...

Tyra, the sad thing is that as beautiful as the Jacaranda is, it has been declared an invasive plant, and can no longer be planted. The powers that be were even trying to get them removed wherever they were growing. Fortunately they've relented though and will leave them where they are growing. But I will take a picture and post it soon - they have just started to bloom.

Billy, I'm still surprised when I hear how many of our beautiful plants are used elsewhere - would you believe that very few people plant Grewia here?

BTW, its common name in Zulu is iLalanyathi - which roughly translates as "sleeping buffalo", it might be because the wood was used to make spear shafts.

azannah11 said...

My mother gave me 2 Grewia plants which I just love. Our temps went down to 28 one night (I live in Az)and they lost all their leaves. Does anyone know if they will recover?

stoneware70 said...

Hi Hannah,

Grewias natural habitat includes places like the Karoo (which is probably similar to the extremes of Arizona?) where temperatures can often reach well below freezing. They should be fine.

Let me know if they do?

Unknown said...

I have a Cross Berry and native bees love it, even though we in cooler months its flowering again question is I have ever seen fruit or anything that resembles seeds of any kind. Its well over 4m high. Should we give a good prune come spring to see some fruit? I have tried propagating it with no success but would love more of these beauties to plant out.
5th July 20202 at 8:41

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