Harpephyllum caffrum grows from the Eastern Cape northwards through KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland, southern Mozambique, Limpopo and into Zimbabwe.It can Grow to a height of up to 15 m in optimal conditions, but is normally much smaller in cultivation.
Harpephyllum caffrum is a fairly hardy, large, evergreen tree that has attractive dark green foliage with unusual sickle shaped leaflets and the odd red leaf in the crown. The main stem of the tree is clean and straight with branches that curve upwards and the canopy is thick and spreading. Flowering takes place from November to February and the greenish white flowers are borne near the tips of the branches. The fruits are bunches of fleshy, red berries that are relished by birds, monkeys and bushbabies. It is also an important butterfly and moth host plant.
Harpephyllum caffrum is a beautifully shaped tree that has non-aggressive roots. The tree is often used in city parks and as a street tree in our coastal cities as it is evergreen and provides ampleshade. As a garden subject, Harpephyllum caffrum needs ample room to grow and would be suited to medium or large gardens. When young, the Wild plum is slightly frost sensitive and needs adequate watering to flourish. This ornamental tree will also provide ample shade in the garden.
Harpephyllum caffrum can often be confused with the Cape Ash (Ekebergia capensis) as both trees carry edible, plum-like fruits. However, the Wild plum can be distinguished by its sickle-shaped leaves that that are crowded towards the ends of branches. The foliage has a dark green, glossy appearance and the leaves are pinnate.
You may find stock of this plant at Random Harvest.