Botanical name

Kiggelaria africana

Family

Achariaceae

Common Name

Wild Peach, Wildeperske, Umvethi
Kiggelaria africana
Kiggelaria africana
Kiggelaria africana
Kiggelaria africana
Kiggelaria africana
Kiggelaria africana

Description

Evergreen medium-sized tree 4-13m in height. Bark 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, female flowers solitary on slender stalks, male flowers in sparse few-branched heads.

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 their eggs on the tree; their larvae feed on the poisonous leaves and are able to store the poisons produced by the leaves 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, 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 the wood to construct their wagons.

Habitat

Coastal evergreen forest

Flower Date

February to July