The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

White Milkwood

Afrikaans name: Witmelkhout

White Milkwood

White Milkwood tree

Photo © Steven Herbert

Sideroxylon inerme

The White Milkwood tree is found in coastal woodlands, and a bit further inland, all the way from Cape Town, along the eastern region of South Africa, to Limpopo. It is a small tree with a maximum height of about 10 metres. It is multi-stemmed and very bushy. The tree gives off a milky latex substance when damaged. The bark varies in colour from grey-brown to black. It often cracks into rectangular block shapes. The leaves are oval in shape and are brighter on top than underneath. Clusters of tiny greenish-white flowers appear in summer and autumn. The fruit is berry-shaped and starts off green turning purple or blackish in colour when ripe. The fruit is eaten by bats and birds. The wood of the White Milkwood is easily worked and is used for a variety of things including building boats.

References and further reading

Tsitsikama Trees - Author: Prof. HB Rycroft - Published: 1980 - Page: 88

Two Oceans - Author: Branch, Griffiths, Branch and Beckley - Published: 2010 - Page: 436

What Tree is That? - Author: Hazel Stokes - Published: 1967 - Page: 15

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 102

Trees of Southern Africa - 3rd edition - Author: Keith Coates Palgrave - Published: 2002 - Page: 871

The Overberg Explorer - 2nd edition - Author: Ann & Mike Scott - Published: 2001 - Page: 28

The Complete Field Guide to Trees of Natal, Zululand and Transkei - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 1994 - Page: 388

The Coastal Guide of South Africa - Author: Jacana Media - Published: 2007 - Page: 108

Sappi Tree Spotting: KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape - 2nd edition - Author: Val Thomas and Rina Grant - Published: 2004 - Page: 236

SA Wild Flower Guide No 5 - Stellenbosch to Hermanus - 2nd edition - Author: Anne Bean & Amida Johns - Published: 2005 - Page: 258

SA Wild Flower Guide No 3 - Cape Peninsula - Author: Mary Maytham Kidd - Published: 1982 - Page: 60

SA Wild Flower Guide No 2 - Outeniqua, Tsitsikamma and Eastern Little Karoo - Author: Audrey Moriarty - Published: 1982 - Page: 148

Pocket Guide - Trees of Southern Africa - Author: Piet van Wyk - Published: 2013 - Page: 109

Piet van Wyks Field Guide to the Trees of the Kruger National Park - 1st edition - Author: Piet van Wyk - Published: 1988 - Page: 187

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 391

Garden Birds in South Africa - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2017 - Page: 166

Field Guide to the Trees of the Kruger National Park - 5th edition - Author: Piet van Wyk - Published: 2008 - Page: 187

Everyones Guide to Trees of South Africa - Author: Keith, Paul and Meg Coates Palgrave - Published: 1989 - Page: 89

Ecoguide - Fynbos - Author: Colin Paterson-Jones and John Manning - Published: 2007 - Page: 166

A Field Guide to the Trees of Southern Africa - Author: E. Palmer - Published: 1983 - Page: 277

A Field Guide to the Eastern Cape Coast - Author: R. Lubke, F. Gess & M. Bruton - Published: 1988 - Page: 228


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