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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Velvet Bushwillow

Afrikaans name:

Velvet Bushwillow

Velvet Bushwillow tree

Photo © Steven Herbert

Combretum molle

The Velvet Bushwillow is a smallish, but fast growing, tree that reaches a maximum height of 10 metres. It is found in the north-eastern regions of South Africa from KwaZulu-Natal to the North West province. It does not normally occur above an altitude of 1,500 metres above sea-level. It is very sensitive to extreme cold. The bark of the Velvet Bushwillow is quite variable in colour. It can be brown, grey or blackish. The hairy leaves can be up to 15 cm in length. Spikes are yellowish flowers are produced in spring. The small fruits are yellowish-brown with some red and have 4 wings. Older fruits are brown. The fruit first appears in January and some may stay on the tree for most of the year. The wood of the Velvet Bushwillow is quite hard and is sometimes used to make fence posts and handles for garden tools. Some people believe that the leaves have medicinal qualities and have been used to treat a variety of problems from snake bite to fever.

Velvet Bushwillow

Velvet Bushwillow

Photo © Steven Herbert

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References and further reading

A Field Guide to the Trees of Southern Africa - Author: E. Palmer - Year Published: 1983 - Page: 261

Common Trees of the Highveld - Author: Drummond & Coates Palgrave - Year Published: 1973 - Page: 20

Everyone's Guide to Trees of South Africa - Author: Keith, Paul and Meg Coates Palgrave - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 83

Field Guide to the Trees of the Kruger National Park - Author: Piet van Wyk - Year Published: 2008 - Page: 171

Sappi Tree Spotting: Highveld and the Drakensburg - Author: Val Thomas and Rina Grant - Year Published: 1998 - Page: 188

Sappi Tree Spotting: KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape - Author: Val Thomas and Rina Grant - Year Published: 2004? - Page: 202

The Complete Field Guide to Trees of Natal, Zululand and Transkei - Author: Elsa Pooley - Year Published: 1994 - Page: 356

Trees of Southern Africa - 3rd edition - Author: Keith Coates Palgrave - Year Published: 2002 - Page: 806

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