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Jubaeopsis caffra (Pondo coconut, Dwarf Pondoland palm, Mkambati palm)

Pondo-palm [Afrikaans]; inKomba [Xhosa]

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Monocotyledons > Order: Arecales > Family: Arecaceae

Jubaeopsis caffra (Pondo coconut, Dwarf Pondoland palm, Mkambati palm)  

Jubaeopsis caffra in habitat on the cliffs above the Mtentu River mouth in the Mkhambati Nature Reserve on the Wild Coast in Pondoland in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. [photo Colin Paterson-Jones ]

 

This palm can grow to 8 m tall but normally it is less than 5 m. The pinnate leaves are about 3-4 m long and look similar to those of Phoenix reclinata but without spines at the base.

Distribution and habitat

This is the only species in its genus and is endemic to Pondoland in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, where it is found along the Mtentu and Msikaba rivers.

Uses by humans

  • Fruit are almost round, about 2 cm in diameter and resemble miniature coconuts with a fibrous outer covering and the inside containing white 'meat' and a small amount of milk. They also taste similar to coconuts and despite being so small, are eaten by local people. 
  • Being a small-sized neat looking palm, it has become popular as an ornamental tree, especially in the USA.

References

  • Palgrave, K.C. and Palgrave, M.C. 2002. Trees of Southern Africa. 3rd Edition. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.

Text by Hamish Robertson 


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