Jackal berry tree, Kruger National Park, South Africa. The best known and most developed ebony-fruit species, the jackal berry (Diospyros mespiliformis) is typical of the group. Its black, rock-hard heartwood is used for carvings, but locally it is more renowned for its fruits, a popular favorite. (Willem van der Merwe)

some species may be invasive of open ground.). In certain areas ebony forests might be established as food reserves, which would likely be an excellent way to obtain local cooperation for planting and protecting both trees and land. In the long run, however, the very valuable wood could be the greater financial prize.

Despite their domicile in the wild, African persimmons are particularly enjoyed. For marketing on a large scale, they are suitably sized, attractive to look at, and appealingly sweet and succulent. They are, however, very soft and delicate. And this fragility is at present the biggest—perhaps only—thing limiting their advancement into big time food resources.2

These fruits are versatile. Most are eaten fresh. Many are eaten dried. Some are pulped and incorporated into sauces. A few are reduced to concentrate, sometimes sold in frozen form. Others are incorporated into

2

“They are virtually impossible to transport fresh,” wrote one of our contributors, “but they dry very well.”



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