Berchemia zeyheri

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Berchemia zeyheri
Berchemia zeyheri

Berchemia zeyheri

Eurosiden I
Order : Rose-like (rosales)
Family : Buckthorn Family (Rhamnaceae)
Genre : Berchemia
Type : Berchemia zeyheri
Scientific name
Berchemia zeyheri
( Sond. ) Grubov
Berchemia zeyheri fruits

Berchemia zeyheri is a plant of the genus Berchemia within the family of Buckthorn family (Rhamnaceae). It occurs in south-eastern Africa in Zimbabwe , Mozambique and South Africa .


Vegetative characteristics

Berchemia zeyheri is a semi-evergreen tree that reaches heights of up to 12-15 meters. The brownish bark is thick and cracked with age. It has an intense pink, hard and heavy heartwood .

The simple leaves are opposite and short-stalked. They are ovate to elliptical, lanceolate or obovate. The underside lighter and bare leaves have entire margins and are rounded to round-pointed. Are up to 4–6 inches long and up to 2.5–3.5 inches wide. The short, 3–5 millimeter long petiole is sometimes reddish. The leaf base is rounded to rounded or blunt to slightly heart-shaped. The veins are pinnate and lighter.

Generative characteristics

The hermaphrodite and long-stemmed flowers are five-fold with a double flower envelope . They appear axially in smaller groups (up to 4–6). The flower stalks are 10-16 millimeters long. The large sepals, slightly keeled on the inside, are triangular and green-yellowish. The very small, 5 petals are spatulate and boat-shaped, as well as arranged alternately to the sepals. The 5 stamens with white stamens are arranged opposite the petals. There is a conspicuous, pillow-shaped and yellow disc, indented by the stamens . The ovary is on top with two approximated styluses with cephalic scars .

The egg-shaped, fleshy and solitary, glabrous, smooth stone fruits are first yellow and then reddish and cherry-like when ripe. They are about 0.9-1.4 inches long and 4-6 millimeters wide and with a short, persistent stylus remnant.


The first publication took place in 1860 under the Basionym Rhamnus zeyheri by Otto Wilhelm Sonder in WHHarvey & auct. suc. (eds.), Fl. Cap. 1: 477. The new combination to Berchemia zeyheri takes place in 1949 in the USSR by Valeri Ivanovich Grubow. Another synonym is Phyllogeiton zeyheri (Spreng. Ex Sond.) Suess. . The type epithet zeyheri honors the German botanist Karl Ludwig Philipp Zeyher (1799–1858).


The fruits are probably tasty for humans and animals.

The fruits can be eaten fresh or dried.

The bark is used as a coloring agent and for medicinal purposes.

The heavy wood is made into luxury items under the name "Pink Ivory". The name refers to the unusual color of the wood as well as its extraordinary density and hardness, which in terms of its mechanical properties is more similar to ivory than wood - the wood has a density of approx. 1000 g / dm³. In its area of ​​distribution it is used for common purposes such as fence posts, but was also known as the "royal wood" of the Zulus .


  • E. Schmidt, M. Lotter, W. McCleland: Trees and Shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park. Jacanda, 2002, ISBN 1-919777-30-X , p. 378.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. online at
  2. Pink Ivory at The Woood Database.