The Imbe is a small, bright orange, oblong fruit that is native to Africa. This berry has a thin skin and one large seed inside. The imbe has a very sweet, yet acidic taste. Some have likened the taste to that of an apricot.
An antibacterial component has been found in the leaves. Also, the bark and root of the Imbe tree can be used to treat meningitis, tuberculosis, and cancer. Other uses of the fruit include landscaping using imbe trees and of course eating the fruit. It can be eaten raw, crushed into a drink, seeded and dried, cooked into desserts, or fermented to make a purplish wine. Another option is to soak imbes in alcohol and mix it with syrup to make liqueur.
These trees can be grown in USDA growing zones 9 and above. They are drought tolerant, but in order for fruit to grow, water is necessary. The tree usually fruits between July and August. The fruit ripens to a bright orange in August and is gone within two weeks. The fruit is between 1.5-2 inches long and 1-2 inches in diameter. The skin is quite tender, so shipping this fruit is not practical.
The tree itself is rather slow growing, but ultimately can grow to 15-20 feet tall. However, the evergreen like tree usually has one large trunk with other thick branches stemming from it. This puts the fruit closer to the ground than if they grew off just the main trunk. Also, it gives the tree a unique appearance, making it a popular choice in landscaping. In fact, imbe trees can be found at Mozambique’s capitol and near Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe.