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Combretum zeyheri

Botanical name

Combretum zeyheri (SA No 546)

Other names

Large-fruited bushwillow; raasblaar (Afrikaans)

Family

Combretaceae

Dimensions

Medium-sized semi-deciduous tree of up to 10 m

Description of stem

Branched and often twisted trunks; the bark light grey, smooth to fissured in patches, sometimes flaking; small twigs reddish and drooping

Description of leaves

Elliptic to obovate, simple, clustered at branch ends; hairy only when young; typically large, bigger than many of the other combretums, about 8 cm in length and 4 cm wide; margins entire; net-veining visible on both surfaces; apex variable, sometimes tapering to a point, sometimes rounded

Description of flowers

Axillary spikes of yellow-green flowers, usually about 5 cm long, but variable; anthers orange; appear in attractive clusters in spring before the leaves; sweet-scented

Desciption of seed/fruit

Large orange-brown, four-winged fruit, 8 cm in diameter; the conspicuous seeds serve as a key to identification

Description of roots

Some roots close to the surface are dug up for use; the roots are fibrous, used for basket weaving by some of the region's indigenous people

Variation

 

Propagation and cultivation

Plant in well-drained sandy loam soil; grows from seed or truncheons

Tolerances

Grows in a variety of soil types; not likely to perform well in cold climates

Uses

Planted in big gardens and parks; roots used for basket weaving and to make necklaces for young girls; medicinally used to treat coughs and stomach pains

Ecological rarity

Not threatened

Pests and diseases

 

Other

The Afrikaans name 'raasblaar' = noisy leaf (the seeds and leaves rustle in the wind); Carl Zeyher was a noted German naturalist (1799 - 1858)

Location

Summer rainfall areas, particularly bushveld, woodland, rocky slopes and riverine woodland; often in acidic, sandy soil

Distribution (SA provinces)

Mpumalanga; Limpopo; Gauteng; North West

Country

South Africa; Botswana; Zimbabwe; Zambia; Namibia; Swaziland; Mozambique and countries in tropical Africa

 

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