For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Videos: YouTube

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Marula Tree (Sclerocarya Birrea)

The Marula Tree (Sclerocarya Birrea) family Anacardiaceae

The Marula is a medium to large tree, usually 9 meters (25 feet) tall. It is single-stemmed with a dense, spreading crown and deciduous foliage. Fascinatingly enough, only the female trees bears fruits, while the male tree displays flower.
Marula wood has been traditionally used for carving pestles and mortars, bowls, drums, beehives and stools and even canoes in some areas. During colonial times it was even used for tomato boxes and toilet seats.
Regarded as a sacred tree in Africa, the Marula is protected in communal lands under the local chief. Because of its leafy foliage and shade-bearing size, it is popular with villages for local meetings, and often in a ploughed field will be the only tree left standing. The Marula tree is often the spiritual centre for ritual activity in kraals and villages.

The bark of the tree has medicinal properties and is used widely in treating dysentery and diarrhea, rheumatism, insect bites and a variety of other ailments. Essence from the leaves is said to provide a remedy for abscesses, spider bites and burns. Preliminary tests show weak pharmalogical activity relative to hypertension, anti-inflammation and painkilling.

There is even legend that a woman can take bark from the male or female tree to determine the sex of her next baby.
The ripe Marula fruit make a wonderful jelly that is delicious when served with meat especially lamb.