Where they can be found: Although both ximenias are widespread across Zimbabwe – found at low altitudes in woodlands, grassy savannahs and rocky outcrops -, species distribution and abundance vary between regions and locations. The highest concentrations of X. caffra are found in the north-west and east of the country; the highest numbers of X. americana are found in Hwange district. When growing in the same location, X. caffra is common on rocky hillsides while X. americana prefers flat catchment areas and termite mounds.
Propagating ximenia trees would increase harvesting volumes and reduce the present harvesting effort of collecting fruits from distant trees that need to be visited regularly throughout the fruiting season. Propagation can also counteract bad harvesting years, which make supply unreliable and are currently a threat to the commercialisation of the resource.
What is harvested – Harvesting time: The fruits resemble plums and vary in colour from yellow to bright orange and dark red-brown. X. caffra fruits in November-March during the rains; X. americana produces fruit all year round. The pulp contains a stone with an oil-rich seed. Decortication can take place later in the year, after cultivated crops have been harvested and people have more time.
Average yield per tree: The trees produce 15-17kg of fresh fruit per year.