Kiggelaria africana

Kiggelaria africana

Common Names

Wild Peach (english)
Wildeperske (afrikaans)
mufhata-vhufa (venda)
umunwe (zulu)

Taxonomy

Family FLACOURTIACEAE
Genus Kiggelaria
Species africana
SA Plant Number 494
Basionym Kiggelaria africana

Description

Kiggelaria africana is a very hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, fast growing, medium to large sized tree which has very variable leaves.

Small, yellow flowers are borne from August to January, sexes are on separate trees, with solitary, larger, pendulous female flowers and smaller male flowers in clusters.

They are followed by decorative grey-green capsules that open into star-shaped cases to display shiny, black seeds covered with a bright orange-red coating.

It is the host plant to the Garden Acraea butterfly. This butterfly can defoliate the tree but its droppings fertilise the tree and it soon bursts back into leaf.

Cuckoos, which prey on the larva of the butterflies, are attracted to the garden as well as other birds that feed on the seeds. A must for a butterfly garden.

In exposed areas this tree can form part of an effective wind-break, or plant as an attractive specimen tree. Plant in sun or semi-shade.

Size 4 to 13m

Wildlife

Butterfly larval host plant:
Larvae of the Garden Acraea (Acraea horta), Dusky-veined Acraea (Acraea igola) and the Battling Glider (Cymathoe alcimeda) butterflies feed on the leaves of this tree.  The Acraea will completely defoliate the tree, but as soon as the larvae pupates the tree bursts back into leaf, fertilised by all the droppings the hungry larvae leave behind.

Uses

Distribution

Limpopo, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal, Free State, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Western Cape

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