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False brandy bush (Grewia bicolor)


Click on the "Nutritional aspects" tab for recommendations for ruminants, pigs, poultry, rabbits, horses, fish and crustaceans
Common names 

False brandy bush, bastard brandy bush, donkey berry, two-coloured grewia, white raisin [English]; greuvier, grévier bicolore, nogo blanc [French]; mfukufuku, mkone, mkole [Swahili]; debhi [Somali]; sefa, somaya, teye [Amharic]; basterrosyntjie [Afrikaans] (Brink, 2007; Janick et al., 2008)


Grewia disticha Dinter & Burret, Grewia kwebensis N.E.Br., Grewia miniata Mast. ex Hiern


False brandy bush (Grewia bicolor A. Juss.) is a many-stemmed shrub that may reach 7 to 14 m high. The bark is dark grey, deeply fissured and scaly in older trees. The leaves are alternate, elliptic to lanceolate, 1.5-12 cm long x 1-6 cm broad and typically bicoloured: the upper surface is dull green while the lower one is silvery white (Orwa et al., 2009; Brink, 2007). The flowers are pentamerous, yellow, 1.5 cm in diameter. The fruit is a 2-lobed drupe, sometimes hairy, orange to purple black in colour and with a hard woody endocarp (Orwa et al., 2009; Brink, 2007).

Grewia bicolor is a multipurpose shrub. The wood is valuable for construction, utensils, fuel and charcoal. The bark can be used for ropes. Sticks are useful for basketry. Bark and roots have many ethno-medicinal properties due to their high content in triterpenes and alkaloids (Baumer, 1983; Jasper et al., 1986; Augustino et al., 2011). The bark is used to clarify muddy water and sorghum wort, and to alleviate the bitterness of sorghum beer (Orwa et al., 2009; Brink, 2007; Sawadogo Lingani et al., 2007). The mucilaginous leaves can be infused or used as binding agents in sauces. The berries are edible and used to make drinks (Baumer, 1983; Jasper et al., 1986; Augustino et al., 2011). The tree is used as an ornamental tree, as a shade tree and as bee forage (Orwa et al., 2009; Brink, 2007).

Grewia bicolor is browsed by livestock and considered to be an important and highly palatable browse species in farmers surveys in Eastern Africa (Terefe et al., 2010; Komwihangilo et al., 2001; Mtengeti et al., 2006). The fruits may be used as fodder (Orwa et al., 2009).


Grewia bicolor is widely occurring in the dry savannas of the Sudano-Sahel zone and Eastern and Southern Africa. It can be found in the Arabian Peninsula and in India (Le Houérou, 1980c; Baumer, 1983). It grows in low to medium altitudes, on rocky slopes, river banks or low lying depressions. It has also been found at higher altitudes (up to 2000 m). Grewia bicolor is a very drought-tolerant species that can survive in areas where annual rainfall ranges from 200 to 900 mm. It does well on rich, shallow sandy soils, occasionally on red clays (Brink, 2007).

Forage management 

Grewia bicolor can be sown from seed or vegetatively propagated through cuttings or root suckers. Seeds can be stored up to one year before sowing. It coppices and prunes easily (Brink, 2007). Grewia bicolor mostly sheds its leaves during the dry season and flourishes during the rains (Brink, 2007).

Environmental impact 

Biodiversity conservation

During the dry season, Grewia bicolor is a necessary fodder for pure browsing species such as the Western Giant eland (Taurotragus derbianus derbianus, a critically endangered antelope). Grewia bicolor and other woody savanna species should thus be considered for conservation in enclosures (Hejcmanova et al., 2010). However, the extremely dense foliage of Grewia bicolor can also impede access by browsers, thus reducing availability (Pellew, 1980).

Nutritional aspects
Nutritional attributes 

Fresh browse of Grewia bicolor is a good quality fodder, with a relatively high protein content (10-21% DM) and moderate fibre content, depending on the respective amounts of twigs and leaves (Le Houérou, 1980a; Le Houérou, 1980b; Baumer, 1983; Osolo et al., 1994; Feedipedia, 2013). Lignin content is important (8-16% DM) (Feedipedia, 2013). The protein value of the leaves depends on their maturity: in Botswana, the crude protein of Grewia bicolor leaves decreased from 17-20% DM during the rainy season to 8-12% DM in dry season (Aganga et al., 2000). Dry leaves after defoliation are poor in protein (5-7% DM) (Baumer, 1983; Feedipedia, 2013). Grewia leaves are a good source of several macro- and micro-minerals (Baumer, 1983; Osolo et al., 1994; Aganga et al., 2000; Kabasa et al., 2004; Aganga et al., 2008). Over a large range of indigenous browse species in African rangelands, Grewia bicolor has been ranked as the most valuable source of minerals for goats, which helps explain selectivity and overgrazing of that species (Kabasa et al., 2004).

Fruits (berries) are poor in protein (5-8% DM) and rich in fibre (40-44% DM) (Feedipedia, 2013).


Grewia bicolor is browsed by ruminants at the end of the dry season to supplement low quality forages, at a time when trees are naturally totally defoliated (Dicko-Touré, 1980; Baumer, 1983; Osolo et al., 1994). No data are available for in vivo digestibility and animal performance, but in vitro DM digestibility data range from 43 to 60% (Feedipedia, 2013). Grewia bicolor foliage has been reported to be palatable to all herbivores during the dry season (Le Houérou, 1980b). In a survey done in Burkina Faso, 91% of farmers cited Grewia bicolor as one of the most valuable forages due to its availability, high production and good quality for cattle, sheep and goats (Sanon et al., 2007). In Kenya, Grewia bicolor has been ranked as one of the preferred forages by free-ranging East African goats when compared to a selection of 105 forage species (Osolo et al., 1994). In a comparison of 25 browse species in semi-arid Tanzania, Grewia bicolor ranked 2nd after Albizia petersiana in terms of intake rate by goats (11.2 g DM/min) and 5th in terms of importance according to livestock farmers (Mtengeti et al., 2006). This is in accordance with previous studies that showed Grewia bicolor to be one of the main diet components of goat diets during mid and late dry season (Stuth et al., 1990).

The fruits of Grewia species dry out and remain on the branches, providing a smaller but prolonged feed source (Walker, 1980).


No information found (2013).


No information found (2013).


No specific literature seems available on the utilisation of Grewia bicolor in rabbit feeding (June 2015) . Nevertheless because foliage of other Grevia spp (e.g. G. optiva) could be safely used as forage in addition to a concentrate in rabbit feeding (Sing et al., 1986), and because it is also a forage appreciated by sheep, goat and cattle (Pamo, 2006), it can be assumed that Grewia bicolor leaves are suitable to feed rabbits, most probable as complement of a concentrate. However, specific studies are desirable.


Nutritional tables

Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 44.2 6.5 36.0 54.9 6  
Crude protein % DM 15.2 3.4 9.6 21.5 28  
Crude fibre % DM 22.4 4.0 17.0 31.8 13  
NDF % DM 44.9 6.1 36.2 57.1 10  
ADF % DM 28.7 5.4 19.5 42.0 13  
Lignin % DM 10.6 1.9 8.4 15.6 11  
Ether extract % DM 5.0 2.0 2.2 7.2 13  
Ash % DM 10.1 2.0 6.1 14.1 26  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.5         *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 19.7 5.0 8.0 28.1 19  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 1.6 0.8 0.5 3.0 19  
Potassium g/kg DM 13.7 3.5 9.7 19.1 11  
Sodium g/kg DM 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.2 3  
Magnesium g/kg DM 4.6 0.7 3.8 5.7 10  
Manganese mg/kg DM 208   150 266 2  
Zinc mg/kg DM 20   18 22 2  
Copper mg/kg DM 20   19 21 2  
Secondary metabolites Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Tannins (eq. tannic acid) g/kg DM 19.2 14.2 2.2 34.5 4  
Tannins, condensed (eq. catechin) g/kg DM 0.0       1  
In vitro digestibility and solubility Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, pepsin-cellulase % 52.3 6.5 43.2 60.3 5  
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 70.9         *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 68.0         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 12.6         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 10.2         *
a (N) % 39.0       1  
b (N) % 56.0       1  
c (N) h-1 0.042       1  
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=4%) % 68         *
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=6%) % 62         *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


CIRAD, 1991; Dougall et al., 1958; Fall Touré, 1991; Lamprey et al., 1980; Le Houérou, 1980; Mtengeti et al., 2006

Last updated on 19/04/2013 18:15:35

Dry leaves on the ground or remaining on the branches at the end of the dry season

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 90.0 4.5 84.2 94.5 4  
Crude protein % DM 11.0 5.1 5.8 16.2 4  
Crude fibre % DM 18.4 1.0 17.5 19.5 4  
NDF % DM 41.6       1  
ADF % DM 28.0       1  
Lignin % DM 9.1       1  
Ether extract % DM 5.8 4.1 1.2 8.9 3  
Ash % DM 13.4 2.6 9.8 15.9 4  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 17.7         *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 30.6 6.2 22.6 37.7 4  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 1.3 0.3 0.9 1.6 4  
Potassium g/kg DM 9.9 5.4 5.7 16.0 3  
Sodium g/kg DM 0.3       1  
Magnesium g/kg DM 4.8 1.6 3.4 6.6 3  
Manganese mg/kg DM 70   64 76 2  
Zinc mg/kg DM 22   22 22 2  
Copper mg/kg DM 11   6 15 2  
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 71.9         *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 69.0         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 12.2         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 10.0         *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


CIRAD, 1991; INFIC, 1978

Last updated on 19/04/2013 18:23:22

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 88.7   86.1 91.3 2  
Crude protein % DM 6.3   4.9 7.6 2  
Crude fibre % DM 38.1   36.3 40.0 2  
NDF % DM 55.4   53.6 57.3 2  
ADF % DM 41.6   39.7 43.6 2  
Lignin % DM 12.9   12.5 13.4 2  
Ether extract % DM 3.0   2.4 3.5 2  
Ash % DM 5.4   4.2 6.6 2  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.8         *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 10.1   9.2 11.1 2  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 1.6   1.4 1.9 2  
Potassium g/kg DM 8.5   8.0 9.0 2  
Sodium g/kg DM 0.1       1  
Magnesium g/kg DM 2.4   2.1 2.6 2  
Manganese mg/kg DM 28       1  
Zinc mg/kg DM 19       1  
Copper mg/kg DM 12       1  
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 50.5         *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 47.6         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 9.0         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 7.3         *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


CIRAD, 1991

Last updated on 19/04/2013 18:33:21

Datasheet citation 

Heuzé V., Tran G., Delagarde R., Bastianelli D., Lebas F., 2015. False brandy bush (Grewia bicolor). Feedipedia, a programme by INRAE, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://feedipedia.org/node/148 Last updated on July 3, 2015, 11:20

English correction by Tim Smith (Animal Science consultant) and Hélène Thiollet (AFZ)