Coddia rudis

(E.Mey. ex Harv.) Verdc.

Family : Rubiaceae (Coffee family)
Common names : Small bone apple (Eng.); kleinbeenappel (Afr.); umDondwane (Zulu); siKhwakhwane (Siswati); tshinapanapana (Venda)



Coddia rudis


Coddia rudis is usually a short, aromatic, evergreen, dense, multi-stemmed and fairly fast growing shrub.

Coddia rudis is a dense multi-stemmed shrub which grows up to 3 m in height. The main stem is usually short, with arching branches. It grows stiffly upwards,outwards and finally downwards. The bark is dark grey and has no spines. It forms a compact shrub if browsed.

The leaves are opposite or borne in dense clusters on dwarf side twigs. The leaves are simple, broadly obovate, usually 20 mm wide x 15 mm long, shiny dark green above, paler below, hairless, with entire margins, wavy, with round tips which can be notched or broadly tapering. The leaf base is narrowly tapering. The leaf stalks are up to 3 mm long.


The flowers are fragrant, small, up to 1015 mm in diameter, bell-shaped with 5 lobes, white turning yellow with age and are borne in axillary groups in the leaf axils. They appear just as the new leaves start sprouting in spring (October).

The fruits are greenish-brown, roundish and up to 8 mm in diameter. They are crowned with the remains of the calyx. Fruiting takes place from January to June.

Conservation status
According to Raimondo et al . (2009), Coddia rudis is of Least Concern (LC) as it has been evaluated against the five IUCN criteria and does not qualify for the categories critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable or near threatened.

Distribution and habitat
Coddia rudis occurs from the Eastern Cape through KwaZulu-Natal to the eastern Lowveld and Swaziland, on forest margins in bush clumps beneath tall acacias and among rocks. It can tolerate the effect of strong wind, and also survives long periods of drought and high temperatures without extra water.

Derivation of name and historical aspects
The specific name is derived from the Latin word rudis meaning rough, coarse or rustic.

Coddia rudis attracts insects such as bees and butterflies for pollination and in turn the insects become food for birds and other creatures. C. rudis is adapted to dry, sandy soil, strong wind, limited rainfall and intense sunlight.

Uses and cultural aspects
Fruits are eaten by people and birds, and the leaves are heavily browsed by game. Coddia rudis is useful for planting around the edges of the property to form a green or colourful backdrop, to hide walls or to create privacy. It can also be used as container plant or ornamental plant.

Flowers and leaves

Growing Coddia rudis

Coddia rudis grows easily from seed which should be shallowly planted in a good seedling mixture of 50% finely milled pine bark, 25% sand and 25% compost. The seeds should be soaked in warm water for a day before planting. In warm areas the seeds can be planted at any time of the year, but in cold areas one should avoid planting in winter. The seedlings should be transplanted into nursery bags when they reach the two-leaf stage, in the same mixture used in the seed bed.

References and further reading

  • Johnson, D., Johnson S. & Nichols, G. 2002. Gardening with indigenous trees . Struik, Cape Town.
  • Pooley, E. 1993. The complete field guide to trees of Natal, Zululand and Transkei . Natal Flora Publications Trust, Durban.
  • Raimondo, D., Von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. & Manyama, P.A. (eds) 2009. Red List of South African plants 2009. Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.
  • Van Wyk, P. 1984. Field guide to trees of the Kruger National Park. Struik, Cape Town .


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Pretoria National Herbarium

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