Scientific name
Syzigium guineense(Willd.) DC.

Family name

Local name(s)
Donke (Arigna), Dokma (Amargna), Baddessa (Oromiffa), Ocha (Wolayetgna), Waterberry, Water Pear (English)

General description
S. guineense is densely leafy forest tree, usually 10 - 15m but up to 25m. The trunk is broad and fluted and the crown rounded and heavy. The branches are dropping, the stems are thick and angular. The bark is smooth when young, but becomes rough and black with age, flaking and producing a red watery sap if cut. Young leaves are purple-red, but mature leaves are dark green, in opposite pairs, shiny and smooth on both surfaces, the tip is long but rounded, on a short grooved stalk. The leaves can be variable in shape. Flowers are white, showy stamens, in dense branched heads 10cm across, the honey-sweet smell attracts many insects. The stalks are angular and square. The fruits are oval to 3cm, purple-black and shiny, one-seeded, in big bunches of 20-30.

Edible part(s), preparation methods and palatability
Fruits and leaves are edible. The pulp and the fruit skin are sucked and the seed discarded.Children eat the fruits in all the surveyed locations. In addition in South Omo, the nomadic Ari pastoralists collect and consume also the young leaves that are cooked in food shortage periods.

S. guineense a large tree widely distributed in Africa. There are several subspecies occurring from sea level to 2,100m. It prefers moist soils with high water table beside rivers, but will also grow in open woodland. Does very well in moist and wet low- and midland. In Koindo-Koyisha the tree grows along rivers but has been domesticated in the home garden.

Propagation Method(s)
Seedlings, wildlings, direct sowing.

Sample location (s)
(1) Alduba, Hamer-Bena (South Omo), (2) Kaissa Kebele, Bako-Gazer (South Omo), (3) Bele, Koindo-Koyisha (North Omo)

It is a much-appreciated shade tree for the home stead and the home garden.

1 Parts of the following description have been taken from Bekele-Tesemma et al., 1993: p. 424/425

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