Dovyalis caffra

Umkokola, Kei Apples, Kai Apples, or Kau Apples

Kei apples

Kei Apples have dense, glossy, oval leaves with a leathery feel – always a good sign that you are dealing with a hardy plant. Long, sharp thorns lurk between the leaves, making criminals think twice before scaling a wall close to this sturdy little tree. If you plant more than one and you’re fortunate enough to have a male and female in the mix, you will enjoy the most spectacular bright yellow fruits in February. The fruit tastes similar to plums and is full of vitamin C.

Cultivation – Kei apples tolerate a wide range of climates, but protect young plants from the frost. Slow growing, they tolerate most soils, although they prefer well draining loams. They require a sunny position.

Key attraction – If you plant a row of them, they can be pruned into an attractive loose-textured hedge that is also good as a natural security barrier. The fruit, born only on female trees, is ornamental, delicious and attractive to birds.

•Height and width: approximately 4m x 3m
•Form: rounded crown, needs pruning to keep it neat

The Gardener