Grewia occidentalis is also known as Four Corner, Crossberry, Kruisbessie, Mokukutu, Mogwane, iLalanyathi, umSipane, umNqabaza Mulembu, Nsihana, Grewia Caffra, or African Starfish. It is part of the Malvaceae family of plants. It is native to South Africa. Grewia occidentalis is a small tree or a shrub. It is hardy and deciduous. It has slender branches.
Grewia occidentalis can grow to about 3m or 10ft. The foliage is glossy dark green. They are alternate and simple. The leaves have three distinct veins from the stem. They are sometimes hairy with toothed edges. Also, remain horizontal to the sun. Farm animals and game graze on the leaves. Buff-tipped skipper also feeds on its leaves.
Grewia occidentalis flowers in the summer. The flowers are pinkish-purple and star-shaped. Grewia occidentalis flowers attract butterflies, and bees.
Grewia occidentalis berries:
The flowers are followed by fleshy berries. They turn purple as they ripen. They are four-lobbed berries. The names Crossberry or Four Corner is due to these unique fruits. Fruits remain on the plants for a long period. Birds usually eat them when they ripen.
How to grow Grewia occidentalis:
Grow Grewia occidentalis in the sun or shade. Plant it in humus-rich, well-drained soil. It tolerates frost and drought. It does not have an aggressive root system. Propagate Grewia occidentalis through seed. It does not require pruning. Prune it to shape it. Grewia occidentalis is generally disease-free and pest-free. But watch out for whitefly or red spider mite.
Grewia occidentalis as food:
Grewia occidentalis fruit is eaten fresh, locally. The ripe fruit is sometimes fermented for beer. Or it is mixed with goat’s milk to make yogurt. Grewia occidentalis also has medicinal use locally.
Other synonyms include: