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Manilkara discolor - (Sond.) J.H.Hemsl.

Common Name Red milkwood, Silvery milkwood
Family Sapotaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Lowland and upland dry evergreen forest and well-drained sites in upland rainforest, at elevations from sea level to 2,100 metres[398 ].
Range East tropical Africa - Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, S. Africa.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Manilkara discolor Red milkwood, Silvery milkwood

Manilkara discolor Red milkwood, Silvery milkwood


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Manilkara discolor, otherwise known as Red Milkweed or Silvery Milkwood, is an evergreen tree with a dense and round canopy and has many branches. It is grown in Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. It grows about 3 - 40 m in height. The trunk is smooth, light-colored, and straight. The leaves are large, oblong, and green with silvery hairs underneath. The flowers form into groups in leaf axils. The fruit has juicy and fleshy pulp that is delicious. It is yellow to red and round. The seed is flat, oval, and pale. The plant yields white latex. The wood is hard and used for fuel, or poles, tool handles, carvings, and spoons.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Manilkara discolor is an evergreen Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Eichleria discolor (Sond.) M.M.Hartog Labourdonnaisia discolor Sond. Labourdonnaisia sericea Benth.


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw[398 ]. The juicy, fleshy pulp is very tasty[398 ]. Eaten as a snack, especially by children and travellers, the seeds are discarded[398 ]. The yellow to red, fleshy, oval berries are up to 13mm in diameter, enclosing an oval flattened pale-coloured seed[398 ].

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.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Fuel  Latex  Wood

Agroforestry Uses: The tree is good for shade[398 ]. Other Uses The plant exudes a white latex[398 ]. The wood is hard[398 ]. It is used for poles, tool handles, carvings and spoons[398 ]. The wood is used for fuel[398 ].

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a well-drained soil[308 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Seed -

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Red milkwood, Silvery milkwood, Forest milkberry, Inheua, Manematfole, Masematfole, Mgama, Mgamba, Mghambo, Mkwichimbo, Muapo, Muraita, Nheu:a, Nhuebe, Nueve, Tineve, Tinguele, Umnweba, forest milkberry, bosmelkbessie.

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; South Africa; Tanzania, United Republic of; Zimbabwe, Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, Swaziland, 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
Manilkara bidentataBalata, bulletwood, bully treeTree30.0 10-12 MMHSNMWe224
Manilkara huberiCow Tree, Massaranduba. Black balataTree40.0 10-12 MLMHNM303
Manilkara zapotaSapodilla, NisperoTree25.0 10-12 SLMHNDM524

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.


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Expert comment


(Sond.) J.H.Hemsl.

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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Subject : Manilkara discolor  
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