Bridelia micrantha

Botanical Name: Bridelia micrantha (Hochst.) Baillon

Common Name:        Mushiwe

Plant Family:              Euphorbiaceae

Origin:                           Africa

References:                 Coates Palgrave p.490, Storrs 1 p.235-236, van Wyk 2 p.72, Venter p.136, S.A. No. – Zimb. No. 475

Description:  A small to medium sized semi-deciduous tree, usually found in riverine areas and forest remnants, but may also occur in open woodland. It has a pale, grey-brown, flaky, rough bark and upright growth form. The leaves are 5-18cm long dark glossy green above and paler below. The flowers are inconspicuous, small pale yellow clusters among the leaves. The fruit is a small (8mm) roundish, black when mature and sweet tasting.

Features of Particular Interest:  A fast growing, shady tree. Autumn leaves are yellow, red and purple and the new young leaves are coppery red.

Height and Spread:  7-15m high, 5-8m spread.

Periods of Interest:

Leaf:  August to June.

Flowering:  October to January.

Fruiting:  January to April.


Soil and Moisture:  Prefers heavier, fertile soils, but is tolerant of most soil types. Plant seedlings out in full sun with regular watering.

Aspect:  A tree of mixed woodland that prefers open sun.

Hardiness:  Tolerant to frost but requires moisture.

Maintenance and Pruning:  No special requirements.

Propagation:  Place fresh seed under a thin covering of planting medium and water regularly.

Problems and Drawbacks:  Germination is relatively easy, growth fast and the plant frost-hardy once established.

Use and Associated Planting:  The timber has been successfully used in furniture making. Avenue or specimen. The fruits draw a large variety of birds and small mammals, including bush babies. It makes an excellent shade tree forming a crown after only a few years. The tree can be used as a background plant in the garden adding a splash of color in the spring and autumn.