Majidea zanguebarica J. Kirk ex Oliv., Hooker’s Icon. Pl. 11: 78, t. 1097 78 1871. (syn. Harpullia zanguebarica (J.Kirk) Radlk.);
SE-Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Society Isl. (I) (Tahiti (I)), Jamaica (c),
Trinidad & Tobago (I)
as per Catalogue of Life;
Black Pearl, Velvet-seed Tree, Mgambo Tree;

The mgambo tree, Majidea zangueberica, native to East Africa is a small tree at maturity growing up to 5 metres (16 ft) tall. This very ornamental small tree has shiny foliage with an attractive rounded canopy, making it very suitable for small tropical gardens or a container plant in cooler climates. They are hardy only in frost-free zones, otherwise they can make a rare and unique houseplant as they are smaller when container grown. The leaves are compound with up to 10 pairs of leaflets, which are elliptic about 5–7 centimetres (2.0–2.8 in) long and 2–3 cm (0.79–1.2 in) wide. Its highly ornamental seeds mean it’s sometimes referred to as the black pearl tree or velvet-seed tree. It flowers with dense custers of small green-red, fragrant flowers at the end of panicles. Fruit is spherical with 3 lobes, 3 cm (1.2 in) long. The fruit splits open, showing the bright red interior, with 3 spherical, velvety blue-black seeds. The seeds are often used in artisan jewelry and dried pods in the composition of bouquets and pot pourris.

(From Wikipedia on 21.1.14)

Harpullia zanquebarica -Black pearl Tree: Saw the flowering and fruting of Harpullia zanquebarica ( Syn. Majidea zanquebarica) this month at Sagar upavan, Mumbai. Also called velvet seed tree.

– One (out of three) Black Pearl has germinated. Here are the pics.  





majidea zanguebarica: i have done small experiment on seed germination of majidea zanguebarica. it is epigioul and interestingly file application is show very good result but i think no seed treatment is required. it is really beautiful plant. 

– It is called black pearl (comon name). I have seen this in KMF School premises in Adyar, in Chennai.  One of the most beautiful trees( big shrub?).


Dehisced fruits of Majidea zanguebarica: Wanted to share this picture showing the dehisced fruits of Majidea
or the Mgambo tree (Black Pearl Tree). Photographed in Adyar Theosophical Society Gardens, Chennai, Tamil Nadu State on 17 June, 2011. 

Yes. Majidea zanguebarica. I have photographed this tree in K M F School premises (opp. Theosophical society) on Besant Avenue.
Native to east Africa, the Mgambo Tree is sometimes referred to as Velvet-seed Tree owing to its unique velvety black seeds, which are displayed like pearls in the bright red interior of its fruit pods. So
ornamental are its seeds, they are often used in artisan jewelry and the dried pods in the composition of bouquets . 

wonderful picture….  above and by … in flowers of india site…

does anyone in this group  have any pictures of artisan  jewellery made from these seeds?
Will it grow in hot moist weather of calcutta?
but before that I would like to know if it has a potential to harm  local flora or become a weedy problem?
Has any one in chennai theosophical society or in Bombay made a study of such potential?

Why is it called Mgambo tree??

This could be Majidea zanguebarica of Sapindaceae.

Thanks …



250811BRS6-Plant for id. confirmation -regd.: I would like to know the sp. id. confirmation.
Hop Tree (Arfeuillea arborescens) Fruit as well as flower is attached.

lovely,, one tree also in mumbai in BPT garden

Is Arfeuillea arborescens a synonym of Harpullia arborea?

Dehisced fruits and flowers of Majidea zanguebarica or the mgambo tree.

Yes …, It is Majidea zanguebarica J. Kirk ex Oliv. (Black Pearl Tree) of Sapindaceae family.

Nice pictures …

I thought it is Koelreuteria elegans.

I think this is Majidea zanguebarica.
(Family: Sapindaceae).

To me also Majidea zanguebarica — 

Majidea zanguebarica for me also. The tree is seen in School KMF campus in Chennai (Opp. Theosophical society) .




Majidea zanguebarica from Mumbai.

Attached are pictures of Majidea zanguebarica from Sagar Upvan, Mumbai captured in December 2013.
Requested to please validate ID. 

Though the ID seems to be correct it is not possible to confirm as the pictures are hazy and not clear. Therefore, please send any other clear picture, if you have, for proper identification. I have seen this shrub in Chennai in KFM school, Theosophical society. Open fruits with seeds exposed are the most attractive feature. 

Thank you … for following up and thanks to … for validation…

Apologies for the quality of the photographs, will try to get and post some better shots of the same tree….




Fruit for Id- ID12032017SH1 : 8 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (4)

Fruit for Id pl. Saw this tree for the first time. Most of the fruits were open and a beautiful velvety seed could be seen inside.
Location – BPT Garden ( Sagar Upvan), Colaba, Mumbai
Date- 10.03.2017

The set of four images (labelled – 5046, 5055, 5057 & 5058) is of Majidea zanguebarica J. Kirk ex Oliv. [Sapindaceae].






22/3/2010 12 noon- Botanical garden Pune University Botany Dept.; Plant for ID SMP 22Mar 2010 – efloraofindia | Google Groups




Request for identification of a tree : 4 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (2) – 2 & 3 mb each.

Submitting request for identification of a tree species from Coimbatore, near airport.
Photograph was taken in December 2019.

Majidea zanguebarica, Sapindaceae member,



Continuation of the previous mail of the identified plant Majidea : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (2) – 2 & 3 mb each.
I had photographed another plant from the same area which had shorter filaments of stamens and distinctly tricarpellary ovary but resembles Majidea which you identified. I tried to upload in the previous mail but failed, hence I am uploading it here. Is it the same species or a genetic variant.

It’s also the same plant sir, I observed this plant since sapling to fruiting and seed also, fruit tri carpellary only and seed black and densely tomentose,


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