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Dovyalis abyssinica - (A.Rich.) Warb.

Common Name Abyssinian Gooseberry
Family Salicaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Highland forest over 1,800 metres[ 307 ]. Rain-forest to riparian forest and scrub; dry evergreen forest; sometimes in open wooded grassland; semi-evergreen or deciduous bushland; rocky limestone slopes; at elevations from 600 - 3,050 metres[ 328 ].
Range Eastern Africa - Ethiopia and Somalia, south to Malawi and Mozambique.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Dovyalis abyssinica Abyssinian Gooseberry

Dovyalis abyssinica Abyssinian Gooseberry


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Dovyalis abyssinica or commonly known as Abyssinian Gooseberry is an evergreen, dioecious, spiny shrub or small tree with a rounded crown. It reaches about 6-10 m in height with trunk diameter of about 20 cm. It can be found in highland forests in Eastern Africa. The leaves are oval and slender, with wavy or jagged edges. The edible fruit is small, round, and orange in colour. It has a thin, tender skin and a juicy flesh. Roots and stems can as well be eaten in tonic soup. The wood is hard and suitable for tool handles, spoons, and bedsteads. It can also be used for fuel. Abyssinian gooseberry can be grown by seed or cuttings.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Dovyalis abyssinica is an evergreen Shrub growing to 6 m (19ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Aberia abyssinica (A.Rich.) Clos Dovyalis engleri Gilg Flacourtia obtusata Hochst. ex A.Rich. Hydnoc

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Root  Stem
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[ 398 ]. The fruit has a thin, tender skin and a juicy melting flesh with an aroma and flavour faintly suggestive of apricots[ 301 ]. When fully ripe it makes a very agreeable jelly[ 301 ]. The fruit is about 25mm in diameter[ 200 ]. Roots and stems are eaten in a tonic soup[ 301 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

The leaves are pounded, soaked in water and the liquid taken as a treatment for indigestion[ 398 ]. The roots are used for treating indigestion and VD[ 398 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Fuel  Wood

Other Uses: The wood is hard. It is used for tool handles, spoons and bedsteads[ 398 ]. The wood is used for fuel[ 398 ].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the hot, dry, tropics, though it also succeeds in areas of higher rainfall[ 335 ]. Grows best in a fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil[ 200 ]. Dislikes calcareous soils[ 335 ]. Plants begin bearing when about 4 - 5 years old from seed[ 200 ]. Dioecious - both male and female plants must be grown if fruit is required. One male is sufficient for about 30 female plants[ 200 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Seed - Layering[ 200 ]. Graft or shield-bud desirable varieties on to seedling rootstocks[ 200 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Abyssinian gooseberry, Akudho, Ankakute, Gibin, Kimukiet, Kinokuet, Koshim, Koshum, Kudah, Limoro, Mahhahhari, Mbuchi, Mmango, Mnzuyuyu, Msambwa, Muirungi, Mukambura, Mundariwa, Mundililwa, Nokok, Nukchat, Ol-morogi, Ongolatz, Sangana, Songla, Songola,

Kenya; Ethiopia; Malawi; Uganda; South Sudan; Somalia; Tanzania, United Republic of; Yemen, Africa, Cuba, East Africa, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Socotra, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen, Zambia,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(A.Rich.) Warb.

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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