The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Forest Fever-berry tree

Afrikaans name: Boskoosbessie

Forest Fever Berry

Forest Fever Berry

Photo © Steven Herbert

Croton sylvaticus

The Forest Fever-berry varies in size from around 7 metres to 20 metres or more. The trunk of taller specimens can measure a metre in diameter. It occurs from South Africa through to the tropical regions of the continent. It is normally found in low-altitude forests and in woodland in moist areas.

The leaves are light green in colour, medium sized and taper off to a point. The Forest Fever-Berry tree flowers between September and January. The flowers are pale yellowish green in colour. Its fruit has 3 lobes, is salmon-coloured and around 13 mm in diameter. The bark and leaves are known to have poisonous properties.

The Forest Fever-berry tree makes a good garden tree in suitable areas. Bigger trees provide nice shade. It attracts numerous insects including Honey Bees, flies, beetles and moths. The Green-veined Charaxes butterfly, in particular, lays its eggs in this tree. The fruit attracts numerous species of birds. These include Dark-backed Weaver, African Green Pigeon, Red-eyed Dove and various hornbills. Mammals such as Blue Duiker and Bushpig feed on fallen fruit.

Various parts of these trees have traditionally been used to treat respiratory, intestinal and other ailments. The wood is soft and used to make decorative objects.

Forest Fever-berry

Above - Forest Fever Berry

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

Trees of Southern Africa - 3rd edition - Author: Keith Coates Palgrave - Published: 2002 - Page: 498

The Natal Bushveld - Volume 1 - Author: Natal Parks Board - Published: 1981 - Page: 25

The Complete Field Guide to Trees of Natal, Zululand and Transkei - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 1994 - Page: 222

Sappi Wild Flower Guide - Mpumalanga and Northern Province - Author: Jo Onderstall - Published: 1996 - Page: 110

A Field Guide to the Trees of Southern Africa - Author: E. Palmer - Published: 1983 - Page: 188

Everyones Guide to Trees of South Africa - Author: Keith, Paul and Meg Coates Palgrave - Published: 1989 - Page: 50


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