Ketambilla

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

ketambilla the fruit of Dovyalis hebecarpa, a small shrub native to Sri Lanka, resembles a deep purple cherry but is covered with fine hairs. It is sometimes called ‘Ceylon gooseberry’. Being quite acid, the fruit is generally used to make jams and jellies, but is also an ingredient in some meat and fish dishes. It is now cultivated in a few other tropical countries including the Philippines, and is known in Hawaii, California, and Florida.

A related African species, D. caffra, is commonly called kei apple or umkokolo. It occurs in both wild and cultivated forms in SW Africa, near the Kei River. It has been introduced to the Mediterranean region, and is grown in the Philippines as ‘umkolo’. The fruit is soft, golden yellow when ripe, bearing a resemblance to the apricot. It is similarly used for jam, as are those of several minor African species of the same genus.