Indigenous to South Africa, Vangueria infausta is a small to medium, deciduous shrub or tree that is found in almost all of our provinces.
Growing to a height of between 3 to 5 m, the Wild Medlar is a popular, natural fruit tree that is drought resistant and fairly cold resistant, making it ideal for our highveld gardens. Quite often,it is multi stemmed and branches grow from low down at the base to form a moderately dense ball-shaped crown. The smooth bark is greyish to yellowish brown and peels in irregular strips to form an interesting texture.
The leaves are light green with soft velvety hairs, especially when young. As the leaves get older they appear twisted and are rough to the touch. The Wild Medlar has green to white to creamy yellow flowers from September to November, often appearing before the new leaves. The flowers are clustered on the small twigs and the petals disappear fairly quickly. Fruit is borne from summer through to autumn.
Although fairly slow growing, the tree can form an attractive specimen tree in your garden. It is hardy, once established, and looks very attractive in a rockery where height is needed. The Wild Medlar will grow in almost any type of soil, as long as it is well drained and can be planted in semi-shade or full sun.
Vangueria infausta is one of South Africa’s more popular veld fruits, and can be enjoyed while walking. The edible fruit has a pleasant sweet-sour, mealy taste. It also makes a good jelly. The fruit is plum shaped with a leathery feel and has a pithy flesh that tastes somewhat like apples. In rural areas the fruit is treated as a delicacy and it’s packed with Vitamin C. It is a favourite snack for birds and animals alike when it ripens from yellow to brown. To this day, people utilize the fruit to distil the home-brewed fire-water called ‘mampoer’. plant is used extensively. It is most common in open, exposed grassland.