|DESCRIPTION: It is an evergreen tree usually reaching 6-15 m in height but may become up to 20 m tall. Young trunks are banded and blotched in grey and white and are fairly smooth, in old trees the bark is dark brown, light grey or reddish, thick. Leaves are leathery, smooth, opposite, elliptic, oval or almost circular, up to 2.5-13 x 1.9-8 cm. Flowers are creamy white to pinkish and sweetly scented. USE: The bitter-tasting fresh fruit is eaten raw or used to make an alcoholic drink. A good quality jelly can be cooked from the ripe fruit. Leaves can be used as fodder and flowers produce an abundance of nectar. Wood is used as timber and as firewood and charcoal. The bark can be extracted for dye and is used as fish poison. Roots and bark are boiled and the decoction is used as a remedy for indigestion and giddiness; an extract of the leaves is used to as a purgative or to treat diarrhoea. The tree is used for erosion control in places subject to flooding, and as a shade, ornamental and living fence tree. GROWING PERIOD: Perennial. COMMON NAMES: water tree, water-berry tree, waterbessie, waterwood. FURTHER INF: It is common near fresh water or along fresh watercourses. It occurs in lowlands as well as medium- to high-latitude forests, along stream banks and in riverine thickets. The tree is believed to indicate underground water and is strongly fire resistant. It is an indicator of areas suitable for sugarcane farming. The tree is resistant to cold but not frost, and it is a protected species in South Africa.