Bietou

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The bietou (Osteospermum monoliferum) – also known as bush-tick berry, bosluisbessie, inkupheyana, itholonja, motlempe , ntloyalekxwaba – is a fast-growing pioneer species, found from the Western Cape all along the coast up to Zimbabwe and beyond, on sandstone and dune slopes and flats from Namaqualand to tropical Africa: a spreading shrub up to 3 mt, with somewhat fleshy leaves, variable in size and shape, from green to bluish grey.
New leaves and stems have cobwebby hairs. Flowers prolifically in from autumn to spring: the yellow daisies are followed by small fleshy ‘berries’ that turn brown to black when ripe. Each ‘berry’ (drupe) consists of a fairly large seed (pip) surrounded by sweet juicy flesh. The fruits are relished by people, birds and monkeys.

The berries are sweet, juicy and delicious to eat, and are said to have been an important food of the Khoi-khoi, the indigenous people of the Cape. Nowadays they are mainly eaten by children in rural areas, as a tasty sweet snack. However they have the potential to be used for making salad dressing, for flavouring vinegar, alcohol or cordial.

Tough and fast growing, it is a useful pioneer to provide shade and shelter for slower growing species. It is ideal for a windbreak or informal screen on exposed sites.

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Fruit, nuts and fruit preserves

Indigenous community:Khoi
Nominated by:Marijke Honig