Schotia brachypetala

Schotia brachypetala

Common Names

Weeping Boerbean (english)
Huilboerboon (afrikaans)
mulubi (venda)
molope (tswana)
umgxamu (zulu)

Taxonomy

Family FABACEAE
Genus Schotia
Species brachypetala
SA Plant Number 202
Basionym Schotia brachypetala

Description

Schotia brachypetala is a hardy, semi-deciduous (deciduous in cold areas), very decorative tree with interesting branching patterns and a rugged look. The bark is rough and grey. The beautiful foliage is bronze when it first flushes and goes through many different colours and textures in the different seasons.

From August to November it bears massed bunches of magnificent scarlet-red cup-like flowers filled with so much nectar that it drips out, hence the common name. The flowers attract all manner of birds. Some, like Sunbirds, will sip the nectar. Others, like Weavers, will make holes in the bottoms of the flowers and rob them of their nectar without pollinating them. The flowers also attract a whole host of insects. The pods, that are initially bright-green with a dark margin, turn beautiful glossy brown.

The large seeds are edible after they have been roasted and have been used as a coffee substitute. The pods and seeds readily absorb fragrant oils and so are included in potpourri. It has many medicinal and traditional uses.

An excellent and ornamental garden subject for sun or semi-shade and one of our most beautiful and shapely trees. Suitable for containers and bonsai.

Size: 3 to 16m

Wildlife

Nectar Plant:

Flowers produce so much nectar that it not only feeds birds and insects in the trees, but fallen flowers are eaten by baboons, monkeys, insects and buck on the ground, where these occur.

Uses

Culinary:

The seeds are ground to make a coffee subsitute.

Landscaping:

Beautiful, decorative garden subject with a pleasing shape, and attracts many birds to the garden.

Medicinal:

Tannin rich bark is used medicinally.

Distribution

Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal, Eastern Cape

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