(Anisophyllea boehmii)

A tree of muwaha

Synonyms: Anisophyllea exellii, Anisophyllea pomifera, Anisophyllea gossweileri

Family: Anisophylleaceae

Muhawa is a fruit from southern Africa.  It grows wild n sandy rocky soils upto an altitude of 1300 m from Tanzania to Zaire.  It is especially popular in Zambia.


Evergreen shrub or tree up to 10 m. high with dense and close ramification; bark smooth to rough, brown to grey; young branchlets crimson, later yellowish-brown, ± densely tomentose (hairs long, mesodermatose, slightly twisted, reddish-brown to yellowish-brown or grey).

A fruiting branch of muwaha

            Main leaf-lamina usually 5?10×2?5·5 cm. long, ovate, narrowly to broadly elliptic, lanceolate, obovate or, rarely, subcircular, narrowed to an acute or obtuse apex (sometimes rounded or, rarely, retuse or emarginate) and cuneate to obtuse, symmetric or slightly asymmetric at the base, ± leathery; superior surface ± glossy (purplish-pink or pale green to yellowish and ± densely tomentose when young, dark green to brownish-green or yellowish and pubescent to glabrescent, with short scattered hairs, with age); inferior surface mat (yellowish-green or brownish-yellow and densely tomentose when young, yellowish-green to brownish and densely to sparsely tomentose, with rather short, meso- or pachydermatose hairs, with age); midrib prominent, yellow, with long dense bristles below; petiole 2?5 mm. long, densely ferrugineous-hairy. Spikes 3?10(15) cm. long, stout, usually composite, often many-branched, yellowish-brown, densely tomentose (hairs strong or flexuous, meso-pachydermatose), ± remotely flowered, upright, usually in the axils of smaller (up to 3 cm. long), obovate and deciduous leaves (false bracts) at the base of the current years growth.

Muwaha fruits

            Flowers 4-5-merous, bisexual, densely tomentose; bracts ± 2 mm. long, subterete. Calyx-lobes 2 mm. long, triangular to deltate, pale green (tinged purplish-pink externally), densely tomentose outside and glabrous inside, their margins ciliolate. Petals 3 mm. long, 3-lobed (central lobe slender and undivided, lateral lobes broader and 2?3-laciniate), white, glabrous, papillose. Stamens with filaments 2 mm. long, subulate, incurved; anthers 0·3 mm. long, broadly ovoid. Ovary 1·5 mm. long, campanulate, 4?5-locular. Styles 4?5, 1·5 mm. long, pyriform with leptodermatose hairs (sometimes with the apex inflated and apiculate at the extremity) towards the base, divergent, bent outwards. Stigmas spherical with spherical papillae.

            Fruit a drupe 3·5 x 2 cm., ellipsoid, plum-coloured, edible.


Muwaha produces a red cherry like fruit which is sweet and tasty.  This fruit has been selected for domestication and commercialization by various agencies in these countries.

            The fruiting season of muwaha , however, is quite brief.