Philenoptera violacea, the apple-leaf tree, is a large, semi-deciduous tree that grows throughout the eastern regions of South Africa from Eastern Cape to Limpopo and in several of the neighbouring countries, up to the DRC (SA Tree List no. 238).
It was well-known as Lonchocarpus capassa, the appelblaar in Afrikaans. The tree belongs to a small genus with other African members. It is a protected tree in South Africa. The species is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century.
The leaves are large, hard, compound with conspicuously large terminal leaflets. Flower colour varies from blue, mauve, violet, pink to white. Flowering occur in spring in large terminal clusters. The seeds are produced in large flat fruit pods; these trees belong to the Fabaceae family.
The wood is used to make mortars for pounding grain, tool handles and ornaments. Infusions for treating various disorders, including gastro-intestinal conditions, have been made mainly from roots of this tree in African indigenous medicine (www.plantzafrica.com; http://redlist.sanbi.org).