Scientific name: Grewia monticola
Grewia monticola is a shrub or small tree which grows 2 -10 meters tall. It often occurs in a sub-tropical woodland on sandy soils but adaptable to a wide range of soils. Older stems roundish, branches densely covered with brownish hair and the leaves are rough and slightly hairy above, densely covered with whitish or greyish hairs below.
The wood of Grewia monticola is red and is used for walking sticks, assegai shafts and ornaments. The leaves are browsed by game and livestock. Grewia Monticola makes a good screen and is good in clumps. It produces fruits that are edible and are very popular among children. Grewia monticola is also planted for mosquitocidal purposes.
Planting and tree management
Naturally a slow growing plant, it best grows in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20-28°c but can tolerate 15-35°c. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range of 400-900mm.
Grewia monticola makes a delightful garden shrub and a good screen. It is ideal in bush clumps or a bird garden and grows best in a warm climate with moderate rainfall.It can be propagated from seed, but germination is erratic; for best results use seed collected from wild animal droppings. Initially growth in height is about 50 cm per year but it slows down as the plant thickens out. Flowering and fruiting normally start when the tree is two to three years old.