Combretum kraussii is a fast growing, deciduous to semi-deciduous, small tree with glossy dark green leaves that turn vivid red and purple in autumn. Flowers are small, white, sweetly scented puffballs that attract both birds and insects . This tree has a neat shape and is one of our most decorative trees.
Distribution and habitat of Combretum kraussii
It occurs in evergreen forest, wooded valleys and open woodlands; also on rocky hillsides and mountain grassland.
Combretum kraussii in the ecological garden
The Forest Bushwillow deserves a spot in any grassland, savanna or forest garden. It prefers a mild to warm climate and once established it is reasonably frost and drought resistant. Protect from frost when young.
It’s beautiful autumn colour persist on the tree all winter adding a splash of colour. It is truly a tree for all seasons.
It tolerates shade well and can be grown in a large container on a patio. Trim to keep a neat shape.
Propagation is from seed sown at a depth of 3-5 mm in a well-drained medium. Protect seedlings from too much moisture – check that the soil drains well. Shelter seedlings from severe heat and cold for at least the first year.
Uses of Combretum kraussii
The young stems are pliable and used in basket-making. The wood is tough and yellowish in colour; the sawdust can however cause a skin irritation. Certain parts from the tree are used to produce anti-diuretics, lotions for eye infections, as well as antiseptics.
Coates Palgrave, M. 2002. Keith Coates Palgrave Trees of southern Africa, edn 3. Struik, Cape Town.
Palmer, E. & Pitman, N. 1972. Trees of southern Africa, vol. 3. Balkema, Cape Town.
Van Wyk, B. & Gericke, N. 2000. People’s plants. Briza Publications, Pretoria.
Van Wyk, B., Van Oudtshoorn, B. & Gericke, N. 1997. Medicinal plants of South Africa. Briza Publications, Pretoria.
Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. 1997. Field guide to trees of southern Africa. Struik, Cape Town.