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Plant Informational Database

South African Star Apple

Diospyros austroafricana

a.k.a. Fire Sticks, South African Persimmon

A small persimmon, usually about 1/2-3/4" in diameter. Fruits are velvet skinned, round, fleshy and ripen from red to black. The fruits are edible.

Seed Availability

Seeds are now available at our seed store.


A shrub or small tree growing to 4-30 feet. Unique features include flaky, dark brown bark and both branches and leaves that are covered in tiny hairs. The hairs give the plant a mild gray-like appearance. Additionally, the flowers and the immature fruits are enclosed by a prominent calyx, a feature not usually seen in other Diospyros.


Unknown exact hardiness, but the tree appears to be mildly freeze hardy. It is known to survive as far north as coastal Washington state and should be suitable in colder subtropical areas.

Growing Environment

Adaptable to a number of climates. Tough once established. Drought tolerant, but should be provided with regular water when young.


By seeds.


The fruits can be eaten, though their quality is unknown. The species is sometimes used as a landscape shrub and has some popularity for bonsai.

Native Range

Native to much of the South African cape region.

Related Species

Diospyros austroafricana
South African Star Apple
Diospyros blancoi
Velvet Apple
Diospyros brasiliensis
Bush Persimmon
Diospyros digyna
Black Sapote
Diospyros mespiliformis
Jackal Berry
Diospyros montana
Mountain Persimmon
Diospyros whyteana