Trees of the year
Trees of the year

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PLANT OF THE MONTH: March 2017

Scientific name: Cordia caffra

Family: Boraginaceae

Common names: Septee saucer-berry (Eng.); Septeeboom (Afr.); Mududa (V) Umlovulovu (X); Ilovu –elikhulu (Z).

march plant

Description: This tree is small to medium in size but sometimes, in the wild, given optimum conditions, can reach heights of up to 20 m or more. The bark is smooth with patches flaking off

Leaves are thin, alternate, with a slightly toothed margin, shiny dark green above and paler green below.

Fruits are edible but not very tasty, fleshy, deep orange drupes and 12mm in diameter with large calyx that forms a saucer around the base of the fruit.

Flowers are pretty, sweetly fragranced, creamy white; bell shaped and appears in terminal clusters.

Flowering time: September to November.

Origin: South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Limpopo) and southern Mozambique.

Ecological: Insects are attracted to the sweetly scented white flowers and help pollinate them and birds enjoy eating the fleshy fruit.

Plant uses: Parts of this tree are used medicinally to treat sore eyes, fever and wounds. The sapwood is used to build huts, and dry sticks rubbed together are used to make fire caused by friction heat.

Propagation: The tree grows easily from seed and usually seeds itself. This tree thrives in semi shade; it can also be planted in full sun where it grows almost equally well.

References

·         https://www.plantzafrica.com/plantcd/cordiacaf.htm

·         Pooley, E. 1993. The complete field guide to trees of Natal, Zululand and Transkei. Natal Flora Publications Trust, Durban.

·         Van Wyk, B. & van Wyk, P. 2009. Field guide to trees of Southern Africa. Struik Nature Publishers

 

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