The marula tree (scientifically Sclerocarya birrea), also known as morula, mufula, inkanyi, and umganu, is a widely grown plant indigenous to South Africa. The strong-flavoured fruit it bears is edible and contains four times as much vitamin C as a common citrus. The pulp is also processed into different beverages, jams, and jellies. The most popular South African liqueur "Amarula Cream" is also made from marula. Moreover, its nuts are also edible. And pips, which used to be an ignored by-product, are now the source of marula pip oil. This oil is perfectly odourless and tasteless, and 48 times more stable than the best olive oil, which why it is a real treasure for the perfume industry.
While jams, liquor, and other marula-based fruit products are on offer year-round, the fresh fruit may only be enjoyed during the harvest season which runs from January to March. Pale green fruits drop from the trees, and finish ripening on the ground until they become a pale waxy yellow colour.
Although the marula tree dominates in Ba-Phalaborwa in the Limpopo Province, it also grows in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Mpumalanga. You may find it growing in the wild, but we recommend buying products from locals, as it is a source of livelihood for them.