Combretum apiculatum

Botanical Name: Combretum apiculatum Sond.

Synonym:                    C. leutweinii Schinz.

Common Name:        Red Bush Willow, Rooibis.

Plant Family:              Combretaceae

Origin:                           Southern Africa

References:                 Coates Palgrave p.796, Venter; p.178. S.A. No. 532 and 532.1, Zimb. No. 766


Description:  semi deciduous small tree, occasionally shrub like.

Features of Particular Interest:  Young branches covered in reddish brown bark, but grey to light brown in older specimens. Flowers greenish yellow, scented in spikes. Fruit glossy brown with four wings typical of Combretum species.

Height and Spread:  Up to 9m.

Periods of Interest:

Leaf:  September to May.

Flowering:  September to December.

Fruiting:  January to July.


Soil and Moisture:  Enjoys sandy or rocky soil in dry areas of less than 600 mm of rain a year.

Aspect:  Generally grows readily in open locations.

Hardiness:  Not frost hardy but can withstand some cold.

Maintenance and Pruning:  Water for at least 6 months after planting and protect from herbivores until 1 m tall.

Propagation:  From seed.

Problems and Drawbacks:  Growth is slow – 3 m in 4 years.

Use and Associated Planting:  Specimen plant for the dry garden. Displays beautiful autumn colors. Non aggressive root system so can be planted close to buildings. It provides good fodder for stock and game, also eaten by several wild animals. Its wood is good for fencing as it is resistant to termites and borers.

Notes:  Attracts bees and insects and insect eating bird as well as Brown-headed Parrots, the latter particularly for the fruit.