Marula - Sclerocarya birrea
The Marula is a single-stemmed tree with a wide-spreading, round crown of which the most diagnostic feature is the characteristic grey, mottled bark, peeling in disc-shaped flakes. It is a tall, deciduous tree (usually 15 m, but can grow up to 20 m). The compound leaves are grey-green in colour, but turn pale yellow prior to being shed. Denuded of leaves, the top branches appear abnormally thick and erect, like upturned fingers (digitaliform). It remains bare for several months of the year. The tree is best known for its golf ball-sized fruit, which it bears in profusion during summer.
The bark peels off sporadically in round discs, giving it a grey, mottled appearance. Leaves are borne close together arranged spirally, at the ends of twigs. 4-10 pairs of leaflets and one terminal leaf. Male and female flowers are borne on separate trees. Male flowers are more conspicuous and borne on sparse, drooping racemes. Pinkish in colour. Female flowers are smaller, red-purple and white. Borne on long peduncles.
The Marula fruit is round to oval. Green when young, becoming butter-yellow. Thick, soft, leathery exocarp encloses white, slimy fruit pulp and a large, hard, woody stone. Seeds are nut-like, white. The trees flower from July to January and fruit from January to April.
The Marula does not flourish in deep sand and therefore occurs on firm soil. It is widely distributed in the Okavango Delta, but isolated specimens rather than pure woodland are the norm.
Lodges and Camps in Botswana: Audi Camp - Camp Moremi -Camp Okuti - Camp Okavango - Chitabe Camp - Chobe Game Lodge - Chobe Marina Lodge - Deception Valley Lodge - Delta Safari Camp - Elephant Camp Victoria Falls - Footsteps Camp - Gunn's Camp - Kubu Safari Lodge - Kwara Camp Okavango Delta - Leroo-la-Tau - Little Mombo Camp - Mariolina's Victoria Falls - Mapula Lodge - Mombo Safari Camp - Motsentsela Tree Lodge - Nxabega Okavango Safari Camp - Pom Pom Camp - Sandibe Safari Lodge - Savute Safari Lodge - Savuti Camp - Tsaro Elephant Lodge - Xugana Lodge
Botswana Destinations: Chobe National Park - Gemsbok National Park - Kalahari - Khwai - Linyanti - Makgadikgadi Pans - Maun - Moremi Game Reserve - Nogatsaa/Tchinga - Nxai Pan - Okavango Delta - Savute - Tsodilo hills - Tuli Block - Xakanaxa
Zimbabwe Destinations: Victoria Falls
Mammals of Botswana: African Wild Dog - African Elephant - Baboon - Bat-Eared-Fox - Brown Hyena - Buffalo - Cheetah - Eland - Genet - Giraffe - Hartebeest - Hippo - Impala - Jackal - Kudu - Leopard - Lion - Oryx - Puku - Red Lechwe - Roan Antelope - Sable Antelope - Sitatunga - Slender Mongoose - Spotted Hyena - Springbok - Squirrel - Surikate - Tsessebe - Warthog - Wildebeest - Zebra