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.
Plant Information or Specifications
Learn About Climate Zones
Learn About Propagation Methods
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)
Is it a Dwarf Fruit Tree?
Can be pruned to 2m
Time to Fruit/Flower/Harvest
Sun or Shade
Preferred Soil Type
February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September
Customer Comments on 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
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
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
Lovely jelle and easy to make | Marcia Nell - Leisure Bay, Port Edward Natal, S.A. 24-Jan-2012
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
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 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
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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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 sydneyweeds.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Kei-apple-alert-LLS.pdf