Botanical name

Cunonia capensis



Common Name

Butterspoon Tree, Red Alder, Rooiels
Cunonia capensis
Cunonia capensis
Cunonia capensis
Cunonia capensis
Cunonia capensis


Evergreen tree up to 18m. Dark, fissured, very rough bark in mature specimens, pale and flaking when young. Leaves opposite, imparipinnate, 120-300mm long, with 3-5 pairs of glossy, leathery, dark green leaflets with sharply toothed margins and pink veins, grey hairs on young leaves; leaf buds enclosed by large, conspicuous, paddle-shaped stipules, always found on the tree.  Small creamy-white flowers are in dense, spike-like, axillary racemes, sweetly scented.

Fruit are small two-horned brown capsules which release tiny sticky seeds.

Flowers attract insects and the sticky seeds are distributed by birds and wind.

Wood is pale to rich red, hard, fine-grained and used for furniture.


Damp shady kloofs particularly near streams

Flower Date

March to June