Philenoptera violacea

Philenoptera violacea

Common Names

Apple-leaf (english)
Appelblaar (afrikaans)
Mufhanda (venda)
Mohata (tswana)
Isihomohomo (zulu)


Genus Philenoptera
Species violacea
SA Plant Number 138
Basionym Philenoptera violacea


Philenoptera violacea is a hardy, small to medium sized, upright, semi-deciduous tree that has beautiful pale lavender-grey bark.

It drops its attractive, large grey-green leaves in spring, at the same time as the new leaves begin to appear. The leaves are palatable to many species of game.

The masses of beautiful large sprays of delicate, pea-like, lilac flowers are borne in October and November (sometimes September to December), and are sweetly scented. Because of the copious nectar many different creatures eat the nutritious, fallen flowers. The nectar attracts many birds and insects to the early spring bounty offered by this beautiful tree.

Plant in well-drained soil and mulch well. It does require watering regularly when first planted, but once established, this is an extremely drought hardy tree.

Beautiful planted in groves or as a single specimen. It has a non-aggressive root system.

It has many magical and medicinal uses and is called the rain tree as well. What I love about this tree is that it is said that if you keep a piece of root in your pocket you are guaranteed to always have friends.

Size 5 to 10m


Butterfly Host Plant:
Larvae of the Large Blue Charaxes (Charaxes bohemani) eat the leaves of the Apple-leaf



Limpopo, Mpumalanga

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