The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Cape Ash

Afrikaans name: Essenhout

Cape Ash

Cape Ash tree

Photo © Steven Herbert

Ekebergia capensis

The Cape Ash has a wide distribution in Africa. It is found from South Africa through to Sudan, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It is a large tree that can reach 15 metres in height. It can be found in a variety of habitats ranging from riverine forests, at sea-level, through to evergreen forests at around 1500 metres above sea-level.

The bark is rough and varies in colour from grey to black. The leaves are large and glossy green in colour.

During summer the Cape Ash gets sprays of small white flowers which are quite sweetly scented. The fruit starts off green and turns bright red when it is ripe. The fruit is a popular food amongst many fruit-eating birds as well as mammals such Chacma Baboon, monkeys and Nyala.

Cape Ash leaves

Leaves of the Cape Ash

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

Tsitsikama Trees - Author: Prof. HB Rycroft - Published: 1980 - Page: 48

What Tree is That? - Author: Hazel Stokes - Published: 1967 - Page: 9

Trees of Southern Africa - 3rd edition - Author: Keith Coates Palgrave - Published: 2002 - Page: 452

The Complete Field Guide to Trees of Natal, Zululand and Transkei - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 1994 - Page: 202

The Natal Bushveld - Volume 1 - Author: Natal Parks Board - Published: 1981 - Page: 27

Sasol First Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 1999 - Page: 28

Sappi Tree Spotting: KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape - 2nd edition - Author: Val Thomas and Rina Grant - Published: 2004 - Page: 224

Piet van Wyks Field Guide to the Trees of the Kruger National Park - 1st edition - Author: Piet van Wyk - Published: 1988 - Page: 119

Pocket Guide - Trees of Southern Africa - Author: Piet van Wyk - Published: 2013 - Page: 69

Indigenous Garden Plants of Southern Africa - Author: Glenice Ebedes - Published: 2017 - Page: 26

Indigenous Beginnings - Author: Anneke Kearney - Published: 2008 - Page: 34

Garden Birds in South Africa - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2017 - Page: 162

Everyones Guide to Trees of South Africa - Author: Keith, Paul and Meg Coates Palgrave - Published: 1989 - Page: 47

Field Guide to the Trees of the Kruger National Park - 5th edition - Author: Piet van Wyk - Published: 2008 - Page: 119

Butterfly Gardening in South Africa - Author: Jill Reid - Published: 2000 - Page: 70

A site-by-site guide to trees in the Kruger National Park - Author: Marissa Greeff - Published: 2017 - Page: 146

A Field Guide to the Trees of Southern Africa - Author: E. Palmer - Published: 1983 - Page: 181


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