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Kei Apple fruitBotanical Name: Dovyalis caffra

Native to southwest Africa, the Kei apple forms a very drought hardy and salt tolerant shrub or small tree. With its large thorns this dense shrub makes a perfect security fence. The plum sized golden fruit is aromatic. Very sweet and tastes very similar to an apricot but with a much higher juice content. They are an excellent plant to encourage bees as both honey bees and native bees love the flowers. Male and female trees are needed for pollination in order to set fruit if planting seedling trees, plant three or more to increase the chances of having both male and female trees.

Weed Warning: May seed freely and there are concerns regarding its weed potential. Consider this before planting.

ImagePriceAvail.PropagationSizeBuy Options
$12.90 0 Seedling Medium Email Me When Available
*cross pollinate Seeking Propagation Material
$14.75 0 Seedling Small Email Me When Available Seeking Propagation Material
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Kei Apple Kei Apple Kei Apple For Sale (Size: Medium)  (Grown from Seed) Leaf of the Kei Apple

Plant Information or Specifications

Preferred Climate

Tropical, Subtropical
Learn About Climate Zones

Max Height (when in the ground with good conditions)


Plants required to Pollinate

3 Plants (Male and Female)
Learn about Pollination

Can it Handle Frosts?

Likes Temps above 5deg, Sometimes, Yes

Amount of leaves in Winter?

All Leaves (Evergreen)

Water Requirements

Moderate Watering

Is it a Dwarf Fruit Tree?

Can be pruned to 2m

Time to Fruit/Flower/Harvest

5+ Years

Sun or Shade

Full (Sun:80%-100%)

Preferred Soil Type

Good Drainage

Soil pH

Neutral (6.6-7.3pH)

Fruiting/Harvest Months

February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September


Customer Comments on Kei Apple

Tree Information on growing, planting, pruning, maintenance, ripening, taste, pick or bonsai tips. But mainly how to grow a Kei Apple Share Your Advice or ask questions on our Forum

Kei Apple

Slow growing away from the tropics but bullet proof once established. Tolerant of most soils. The thorns are incredibly long and sharp. The fruits are delicious and unusual. | David White - Newcastle, NSW 02-Jun-2006

Kei Apple

Beautiful shrub very dark glossy foliage we have shaped ours into a ball, looks beautiful and the bees adore it, the fruit I have not tried but smells delicious and looks very similar to apricot. Thanks for all the information on this plant | Cheryl Artman - Gympie, QLD 23-Sep-2009

Kei Apple

The fruits have a tart but unique flavour. Amazing jelly & try making a Kei apple meringue as apposed to a lemon meringue pie. | Jurie - Nairobi, KENYA 24-Sep-2011

Kei Apple

Lovely jelle and easy to make | Marcia Nell - Leisure Bay, Port Edward Natal, S.A. 24-Jan-2012

Kei Apple

Very bitter but nutritious. can make a delicious juice if mixed with a sweeter juice like mango or passion. | Geoffrey Kiguru - Nairobi, KENYA 16-Feb-2012

Kei Apple

Is a fruit with the highest antioxidant properties than any other fruit known, there will be soon nectar for this fruit, which will be blended with other sweet fruit | Everlyne Betty Mayeku - C, KENYA 30-Apr-2013

Kei Apple

Kei Apple love our Southern California climate & soil. Year 7 after planting from specimens obtained from commercial nursery (3-4 years old) our harvest is bountiful. Easy to separate juice & pulp from skins & seeds by using a chinois-pestle. | Dale Menagh - Topanga, Ca, USA 07-Aug-2014

Kei Apple

A large grove was planted in our cnyn in San Diego in 1908. over 100 years and going strong. they have never ever been watered. They seem to thrive on no watering even in the recent So Cal draught. Highly recommended. Easy to grow from seed. | N. Irwin - San Diego , CALIF 15-Jan-2016
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Kei Apple

Customer Feedback
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Kei Apple 10/10

Diana's Edible Fruits
Update: 2516 days 0hrs

Comments: -

Seven in a hedge. The spines are huge! Fruited first December 2011. Fruit is impossible to see until it turns orange and soon after, drops off the plant. The fruit is surprisingly aromatic and quite tart. I stewed some with sugar, and made some into chutney.

Fruiting Months December

Planted: 2008

Height 3 metres

Growing: In the Ground

Qty: 7

First Fruited: 3 Years from purchase in pot

Sun/Shade: Full Sun


Pollination: Self Pollination

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7 of 8 people found this review useful

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Kei Apple (Seedling) 5/10

Peter91's Edible Fruits
Update: 808 days 5hrs

Comments: - Testing as a free plant, not too sure if I will ground plant it as male and female needed and may be too time and space consuming to get a pollination pair.

Height 30 Centimetres

Growing: In a Pot

Sun/Shade: Full Sun

Pollination: Cross Pollination

Cross Pollinator Variety: Kei

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3 of 3 people found this review useful

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Kei Apple (Grafted) 6/10

Christine1's Edible Fruits
Update: 3029 days 9hrs

Comments: -

Doing OK

Planted: 2009

Height 1 metres

Growing: In a Pot

Qty: 1

Sun/Shade: Medium Sun

Water Given in: Spring

Pollination: No

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2 of 4 people found this review useful

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Kei Apple 7/10

DellaDee1's Edible Fruits
Update: 3119 days 5hrs

Comments: - Grown to help protect cold sensitive plants from frost.  Two have been run over by the ride on mower and have reshot. not sure that they are providing any frost protection, but I'm impressed with their staying power.

Planted: 2008

Height 0.5 metres

Growing: In the Ground

Qty: 5

Sun/Shade: Medium Sun

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2 of 5 people found this review useful

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Kei Apple (Seedling) 7/10

Branny1's Edible Fruits
Update: 179 days 2hrs

Comments: -

These are such tough little buggers. I was told you need male and female plants, so I bought three, but I have no idea if I have different genders yet. One is a paler green than the others, but that might come down to slightly different soils?

They're in compost and coir with dynamic lifter in medium sized pots, and they do well. Not particularly tall, just a meter, but lovely and bushy. They do have thorns, but I've never been scratched. I'm wondering if I need to prune them to promote growth?

They can be left alone for a VERY long time without watering. I didn't know that one had been moved away, and was not getting any water at all, and it lasted all summer without watering!! SUPER tough.

I've never tried the fruit, but of course, I'll have to hope I have both male and female trees! I'm thinking about saving for another three to be sure. Five years till fruiting, though, and I'm only two years in!!

Planted: 2016

Height 1 metres

Growing: In a Pot

Qty: 3

Sun/Shade: Medium Sun

Water Given in: Summer

After Fruiting

Pollination: No

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1 of 1 people found this review useful

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Kei Apple

Ahimsa Cottage's Edible Fruits
Update: 2247 days 1hrs

Comments: -


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1 of 6 people found this review useful

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Weed Warning: Kei Apple has been identified as a high risk weed, which is invading bushland in the Sydney region (it is spread by birds) We have a fact sheet about it at