Combretum obovatum

Botanical Name: Combretum obovatum F.Hoffm.

Common Name:        White-leaved Spiny Combretum

Plant Family:              Combretaceae

Origin:                           Southern Africa

References:                 Coates Palgrave p.808, Flora of Zimbabwe web site. S.A. No. -, Zimb. No. 777


Description:  Usually a semi-evergreen scrambling shrub with long trailing branches or small tree up to 7 m tall. Often found in cotton soil floodplains. Showy bract-like silvery-white leaves and flowers in dense spherical auxiliary heads, dark brown with long white stamens, subtended by the white leaves. Fruit usually 5-winged, 3-3.5 cm long, hairy with very corrugated wings, pale straw-colored when dry.

Features of Particular Interest:  Leaves, flowers and fruit.

Height and Spread:  Up to 7m x 7m.  

Periods of Interest:

Leaf:  All year round.

Flowering:  November to January.

Fruiting:  January to June.


Soil and Moisture:  Prefers heavier soils and can tolerate waterlogging.

Aspect:  Tolerant but enjoys full sun.

Hardiness:  Can withstand dry as well as wet conditions.

Maintenance and Pruning:  Not required.

Propagation:  From seed, with some difficulty.

Problems and Drawbacks:  Can be difficult to germinate the seed but seedlings do well once planted out.

Use and Associated Planting:  Use to form a thicket, or screen. Not suited to manicured gardens. Offers good cover to small game and birds.