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A picture of a Bittersweet-Cherry


Maurocenia frangula

Also known as

Vulture-Berry, Khoi Cherry, Nastergalkersie, Aasvoelbessie (Afr.)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Light watering


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

More images of Bittersweet-Cherry

Fissured bark
Red new growth

Bittersweet-Cherry Overview

The Bittersweet-Cherry is a slow-growing, but tough, long-lived and wind-tolerant, large shrub or small tree. It is ideal for fynbos gardens, rockeries and well suited to small gardens. The bark has a greyish-yellow colour and is scaly with fissures running vertically down it. It has a single stem, but this species is a resprouter, and is often seen in the field with multiple stems or branches coppicing from the main stem. Some have also adapted to grow in between rocks on high mountains, keeping it safe from fires. In its natural habitat, it is commonly seen with lichen growing on it, which indicates that it is an old plant. This plant may sometimes be referred to as "Hottentot", an offensive term that was historically used to refer to the Khoikhoi, a member of a group of indigenous peoples of South Africa and Namibia. We do not support the usage of such a term. ZA Distribution: Western Cape.

Common problems with Bittersweet-Cherry

Generally problem free.

    Bittersweet-Cherry Companion Plants

    Succulents such as aloes, vygies, crassulas in rockeries and with plectranthus in a semi-shaded area. Can also be planted with restios, proteas, asteraceous plants, and any herbaceous perennials, even other trees.

    How to harvest Bittersweet-Cherry

    Generally not harvested.

    How to propagate Bittersweet-Cherry


    Heel or tip cuttings can be taken from semi hardwood in summer, treat with rooting hormone and provide bottom heat and misting. Rooting takes 3-6 months.


    Sow in spring or autumn, clean the fleshy seeds before sowing. Fill a tray with sandy, well-drained soil such as river sand, cover with a thin layer of the sand and keep moist but not wet.

    Special features of Bittersweet-Cherry

    Attracts birds

    Birds feed on the berries and help with spreading the seeds.

    Attracts useful insects

    Bees and other insects are attracted to the sweet scented flowers.

    Hedge plant

    It makes a fantastic hedging plant and responds well to pruning, and works well in a mixed hedge.

    Pot plant

    It is also a good container plant, ideal for large pots.

    Drought resistant

    Wind break

    Attracts bees

    Other uses of Bittersweet-Cherry

    Ornamental. Edible fruit. Horticulture.


    The berries are edible.