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Cape sumach

Cape sumach

Scientific Name: Osyris compressa

Other Names: Coastal tannin bush, Wildepruim, Wurgbessie, Basbessie, Kuslooibas, Mtekaaza, Umbalanythi, Umbulanyathi.

Cape sumach is a very decorative and useful plant, edible fruitbearing plant of Africa in cultivation as well as in its natural habitat. It is a hemiparasitic plant, in other words a plant that is capable of producing its own food (photosynthesis) as well as utilizing nourishment from a suitable host plant by means of parasitism. This together with some other interesting features makes the Cape sumach a highly successful species. The fruits are edible and were an important food of the early inhabitants of the Cape. The fruit is also stored by local people for lean times. For doing that, the stones were removed from the fruits. The fleshy part is then compressed and stored.