Diospyros mespiliformis, the jackalberry (also known as African ebony and by its Afrikaans name jakkalsbessie), is a large dioecious evergreentree found mostly in the savannas of Africa. Jackals are fond of the fruit, hence the common names. It is a member of the family Ebenaceae, and is related to the true ebony (D. ebenum) and edible persimmon (D. kaki).
Mature trees have dark gray fissured bark. An adult tree reaches an average of 4 to 6 metres in height, though occasionally trees reach 25 metres. The foliage is dense and dark green with elliptical leaves, which are often eaten by grazing animals such as elephants and buffalo. The tree flowers in the rainy season; the flowers are imperfect, with genders on separate trees, and are cream-colored. The female tree bears fruit in the dry season and these are eaten by many wild animals; they are oval-shaped, yellow or purple when ripe and about 20–30 mm in diameter. The fruit remain embedded in the persistent calyx lobes. Like the marula, the tree is favoured by the Bantu, who will leave them growing in their cultivated lands in order to harvest the fruit.