Herbs & Plants

Dovyalis hebecarpa

Botanical Name: Dovyalis hebecarpa
Family: Salicaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales
Genus: Dovyalis
Species: D. hebecarpa

*Aberia gardneri Clos nom. illeg.
*Aberia hebecarpa (Gardner) Kuntze
*Rumea hebecarpa Gardner

Common Names:English: Ceylon gooseberry, ketembilla, kitembilla; Brazil: groselha-do-Ceilao; Chinese: xi-lin-cu, his-lu-ts’u-li; Cuba: aberia; French: groseillier de Ceylan, ketembillier; German: Kaffernp flaume; India: kocu vetti (Tamil); Spanish: quetembilla; Sri Lanka: ketembilla, kitaembilla, kitembilla, kithaembilla (Sinhala), kocu vetti (Tamil)

Habitat :Dovyalis hebecarpa is native to Sri Lanka and southern India.

Dovyalis hebecarpa is a shrub or small tree growing to 6 m tall, with sharp, 3–6 cm long stem spines in the leaf axils. The leaves are alternately arranged, simple broad lanceolate, 5–10 cm long and 1–3 cm broad, with an entire or finely toothed margin.

The flowers are inconspicuous, solitary or clustered, with no petals. It is dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate plants, though some female plants are parthenogenetic.

The fruit is an edible dark purple globose berry 2–3 cm diameter, very juicy with an acidic flavour, and containing several small seeds. The fruit is quite acidic, so it is usually not eaten fresh.


Propagation & Cultivation:
It can be propagated from the seeds. Plants grown from the seed show variable characters and male or female plants cannot be distinguished by growth characteristics. Therefore vegetative methods of propagation such as cuttings, budding and grafting should be used. Budwood and cuttings should be taken from selected mother trees having perfect flowers and good quality fruits. 3

The tree thrives from sea-level to 1,200 m. It does well in wet or semi dry areas but requires adequate supply of water during fruit development. It does not tolerate waterlogged conditions. It is extremely drought resistant and also tolerates sea spray. A hardy tree, that thrives on any soil including limestone. In Florida, the tree grows well on sand or limestone, but a rich, friable soil is best for maximum fruit production.

Edible Uses: The fruit are often eaten fresh, or made into jam. Some cultivars have been selected for being thornless (making harvesting easier) and for larger fruit.

The tropical apricot, or ketcot, is a hybrid between D. hebecarpa and D. abyssinica that was developed in Florida in 1953 and is also cultivated for its fruit.

Medicinal Uses:
Dovyalis hebecarpa fruit is a source of phytochemicals that could be used in the human diet providing defense against free radicals damage. Moreover, the skins of the fruit, which are not typically consumed, contained higher levels of polyphenols than the pulp. This indicates that the skins of the Ceylon gooseberry may represent a promising source of natural pigments and antioxidants for industrial applications.

Known hazard: The plant has sharp spines,

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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