082 775 1224 / kerryn@cjmgrowers.co.za

The Largest Selection of Indigenous Species in any Nursery in KZN.

Trees, Shrubs, Aloes, Grasses and Ground Covers.

Kiggelaria africana

SA TREE NO: 494

Wild-Peach · Pork wood · Wildeperske · Spekhout · uMunwe / isiKlalu (Z) · umKoko (X)

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Currently the only accepted species in its genus, this tree can be very variable in size; from a short, shrubby tree in dry parts of the country, to a tall, elegant tree in high rainfall areas. It is arguably one of our most underrated native trees, worth growing for its luxurious, grey-green foliage, decorative fruits and hardy nature. Well-shaped and robust, with beautiful, smooth, silvery-grey bark and dainty, creamy bell-shaped flowers.

 

FAMILY

  • Achariaceae

A family of flowering plants, herbs, shrubs and trees, distributed throughout the tropical regions of the world, presently comprising of somewhat 30 genera and 145 species. Most members were previously included in the Flacourtiaceae family, while Achariaceae was initially a minor and little-known family of herbaceous or shrub-like plants from Africa, but recent DNA studies have altered the classification, and are still in progress. Members have unique flowers – the parts are typically spiral, not whorled, or if it is whorled, the petals outnumber the sepals. The petals also generally have a thin layer of scale at their bases, and the flowers possess a multitude of stamens.

   

HABITAT

A very widespread species, found in almost all parts of the country, from sea-level to altitudes of just more than 2500 m. They frequent various forest types, coastal and inland, as well as bushveld, woody gorges, rocky mountain slopes, grassland and along the edges of streams and rivers. They can be found from Natal, Transkei, the Cape, Gauteng and Swaziland, reaching into tropical Africa.

   

BARK

Pale grey to brown, smooth on younger trees, becoming darker and rougher, with occasional scaly patches as the tree matures. The main stem is typically straight, and either single or multi-stemmed, and new shoots are slightly furrowed and velvety, with a fine covering of ochre hairs.

   

FOLIAGE

Evergreen or briefly deciduous. Simple, alternately or somewhat spirally arranged leaves, (35-90 x 20-25 mm), elongated to elliptical in shape. but shape and size can vary. Light to dark olive green above, with paler, bluish grey-green, yellowish or whitish, felted undersides and undulating, entire or obscurely serrated margins, especially on young leaves. (A solitary, bright yellow leaf occasionally present.) The lateral veins extend towards the margins, then fade, and net-veining is orthogonal, often with domatia (hairy pockets) in the axils of the main veins, appearing as tiny bumps on upper surface. The leaf tips and bases are narrow to broadly tapered, and the petiole is 1-2.5 cm long.

   

FLOWERS

Tiny (87-10 mm), pale yellow to creamy-white blooms, usually with 5 petals and sepals, in drooping, multi-flowered inflorescences, carried in the axils of leaves on branchlets. Sexes are separate, and on different trees. Male flowers grow in scant, few-branched heads, while female flowers are solitary, and carried on slender stalks. (August – January)

   

FRUIT

A spherical, gnarled and woody, rough-textured, yellowish to grey-green capsule (10-20 mm diameter). It usually splits open into 4 or 5 valves while still on the tree. (February – July).

   

SEED

Numerous smooth, shiny black seeds, (7-10 mm), covered with a sticky and bright red-orange, fleshy layer.

   

HEIGHT

4-17 m

   

SPREAD

5-13m

 

TOLERANCE

The trees are considerably tough, and although they prefer tropical or sub-tropical climates, they accept fairly dry areas, and are drought tolerant. Established trees can survive occasional frosty spells of up to -4°c, but extended periods of extreme cold may prove detrimental. Young trees should always be protected. They can also withstand high and strong winds.

   

GROWTH RATE

Very fast growing, able to grow 1 m or more per year under favourable conditions.

   

LIGHTING REQUIREMENTS

Prefers full sun, but will tolerate semi-shady conditions.

   

SOIL AND WATER REQUIREMENTS

Very accepting of a wide variety of soil conditions, from sandy to clay, with a neutral Ph. For optimal development, supply with a soil rich in organic matter, and water regularly, but moderately.

   

ADVANTAGES

One of the best indigenous trees if birds and butterflies wish to be lured to the garden – it will not disappoint. It is also a wonderfully decorative tree, with highly attractive foliage and fruits. It is fast growing, can tolerate some shade, and does not have an aggressive root system, so it is suited for container planting and can be grown in close proximity of permanent structures. It is not a overly messy tree, and foliage regrowth is rapid. As it has a habit of branching quite low down, it makes a marvellous screen or hedge plant, as well as a sturdy windbreak. If trimmed regularly, a traditional, upright tree shape is easily acquired, providing good shade and shelter. Perfect for large gardens, parks, parking lots and street planting.

   

WARNINGS

The woody fruits attract a host of seed-eating bird species, while the flowers lure butterflies, bees and insects. Various caterpillar species feed on the foliage, and the beautiful Acraea horta butterfly breeds almost exclusively on the trees. The caterpillars will in their turn lure insectivorous birds.

   

WILDLIFE

The woody fruits attract a host of seed-eating bird species, while the flowers lure butterflies, bees and insects. Various caterpillar species feed on the foliage, and the beautiful Acraea horta butterfly breeds almost exclusively on the trees. The caterpillars will in their turn lure insectivorous birds.

   

PROPAGATION

Easily grown from seed or cuttings. Seeds should be sown in a well-drained mixture of compost and fine river sand (1:2) and placed in a bright, temperate are. Mist every 2-3 days, making sure the soil stays moist but not overly waterlogged. Seedlings grow rapidly, and once they reach 25-30 cm in height, they should be transplanted to prevent them becoming root-bound. Soft or hardwood cuttings can be placed in a similar mixture, and watered regularly. A rooting-hormone can be used to treat the cuttings prior to planting.

   

PRACTICAL

The colour of the wood is variable – ranging from a pink to pale cherry-brown. It is close-grained, quite hard and tough, and makes a durable, good general-purpose timber. A pink dye can also be extracted from it.

   

ADITIONAL

Despite its common name, it is not related to the commercial Peach tree (Prunus persica). The only resemblance is in the leaves, which are rather like those of a peach tree, but typically much wider and rounder, with a stiff, thick texture and a thin coating of fur on the undersides.

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CONTACT

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kerryn@cjmgrowers.co.za

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