Botanical name

Kiggelaria africana

Family

Flacourtiaceae

Common Name

Wild Peach, Wildeperske, Speekhout
Kiggelaria africana
Kiggelaria africana
Kiggelaria africana
Kiggelaria africana

Description

Evergreen medium-sized tree often found in bush clumps or along streams. Trunk is smooth, pale-brown becoming dark brown, flaky and rougher with age. Simple leaves are oval, alternate, dull green above, paler and velvety below; leaf shape is variable with those on new growth usually serrated. Flowers inconspicuous, yellow, in leaf axils, male and female on separate trees. Fruit is a grey-green, rough, warty, round (up to 20mm across), leathery capsule, splitting into 4 valves, the shiny black seeds are enclosed in a sticky, bright orange coating (aril) which is rich in oil and eagerly eaten by birds.

 

Acraea horta 'Garden Acraea' butterflies lay eggs on the tree; their larvae feed on the poisonous leaves and store the poisons in their dermal spikes; birds which feed on the caterpillars (larvae) know to discard the spikes. Trees are liable to be defoliated by the caterpillars, the defoliation apparently only occurs at long intervals and the trees do not appear to suffer serious harm.

Wood fairly hard, pink, used for furniture. Early pioneers used wood to construct their wagons, especially for spokes.

Habitat

Coastal forest

Flower Date

February to July