Forest 28 - Schotia brachypetala


Schotia brachypetala

Schotia brachypetala flowers. Photo not from the Arboretum. Photo by L. Hall (2) Schotia brachypetala, Huilboerboon tree at WAITE. Photo not from the Arboretum

Other common names

Weeping Boer-bean, tree fuchsia, African walnut.

Origin of the species name

Schotia is named after Richard van der Schot (1730-1819), Dutch head gardener at the palace of Schönbrunn, near Vienna, who visited South Africa in the 18th Century; brachypetala from Greek brachys for 'short' and petalon for 'petal'.

Family

Fabaceae

Date planted

November 2011

Lifespan

Lifespan unknown.

General description

This is a small to medium-sized evergreen or deciduous tree with a wide-spreading crown. It has a single trunk, or multiple low-branching forms, with rough brown bark and compound leaves. The flowers are rich deep red, and are produced in masses, and the fruit is a hard, flattened, woody, dark brown pod. Height 15m Spread 15m.

Natural distribution and habitat

The species is native to South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe where it grows in warm dry areas in scrub, deciduous woodland and scrub forest, most often on the banks of rivers and streams, away from coastal areas.

Conservation status

It is not classified as a threatened species.

Planting pattern

An irregular diamond grid approximating the contours.

Uses

The timber is of good quality, suitable for furniture making. The heartwood is almost black, hard, fairly heavy and termite resistant with a dense fine texture and has been much used for furniture and flooring blocks and earlier for wagon beams. The bark can be used for dyeing, giving a red-brown or red colour. A decoction of the bark is used to treat heartburn and hangovers, strengthen the body, purify the blood as well as to treat nervous heart conditions and diarrhoea. The seeds are edible after roasting, although low in protein and fat and high in carbohydrate. Monkeys eat the flowers and seeds.