Skip to main content
You are here
Facebook icon
Pinterest icon
Twitter icon

Sclerocarya birrea (marula)

Marula is an African tree, the juicy fruits of which are highly prized by humans and other animals.
Sclerocarya birrea (marula)

Sclerocarya birrea (marula) (Photo: CC by 3.0 license)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Sclerocarya birrea (A.Rich.) Hochst.

Common name: 

marula

Conservation status: 

Least Concern (LC) according to IUCN Red List criteria; widespread and locally common.

Habitat: 

Wooded grassland, woodland, bushland on rocky hills.

Key Uses: 

Edible fruits, medicine, timber.

Known hazards: 

None known.

Taxonomy

Subclass: 
Superorder: 
Rosanae
Order: 
Sapindales
Family: 
Anacardiaceae
Genus: Sclerocarya

About this species

An African tree with juicy fruits that are much sought after by many local people, marula is a member of the Anacardiaceae, the same plant family to which mangos and cashews belong. Marula fruit is highly prized by many animals, from elephants to mongooses – although the story that they can get drunk on fermented fruit is probably just fiction. The fruit pulp is made into a popular alcoholic drink, known as maroela mampoer or amarula.

Synonym: 

Sclerocarya caffra Sond.

Genus: 
Sclerocarya

main info

Courses at Kew

Students learn about plant taxonomy and identification

Kew offers a variety of specialist training courses in horticulture, conservation and plant science.

Why People Need Plants

image of book cover

A compelling book from Kew Publishing that explores the crucial role that plants play in the everyday lives of all of us.