Apodytes dimidiata

Water Needs

low

Apodytes dimidiata
Tree large
Wild Pear

7 - 8 m

Size

Light Conditions

sun

Frost

light

Flowers

white September to April; spring summer autumn

sun; shade tree, screen; feature tree; wildlife birds bees insects butterflies

Garden Situation

Habitat

fynbos; woodland forest; rocky places; coastal eastern cape; coastal kzn; grassland; urban streets

Region

thicket; Western Cape; highveld; bushveld savanna

Rain Season

summer; winter

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Description

This small tree has protected status in South Africa and, as one of the more commonly found forest trees deserves to be used more often in gardens around the country. The Wild Pear is a small to medium-sized tree, growing to a maximum height of 7 -8 m, and has many characteristics that make it a good choice for an urban garden; small enough, neat, evergreen, attractive, fragrant flowers, non-invasive roots, wind and drought tolerant and relatively fast growing. Seeds, fruits, nectar and pollen, will feed the garden wildlife, and compact form, white to grey bark and bright green leaves make it a good choice for a modern, formal or minimalist landscape design. Flowering takes place from spring to autumn (September to April), and the white flowers are star-shaped, with a strong, sweet fragrance that grow in softly drooping sprays from the tips of the branches. Flowering is often profuse, and they are visited and pollinated by insects. Beautiful fruits follow in December through to June. Green and asymmetrical, they ripen to black with interesting kidney-shaped fleshy, red to the orange appendage. Leaves are dark green and leathery to the touch, though those at the coast usually have white horizontal bands. Young stems are a purplish-red. The bark of young specimens is a pale grey, showing up beautifully in shady situations. Adding to the beautiful look of the bark is the orange and white lichen often found on younger trees. The bark tends to darken with age. As has happened with so many local species, the durable, pliable wood was prized by wagon builders, and many old specimens were cut down for use in wagon making, furniture, rifle stocks and flooring. For this reason, it is now a protected tree in South Africa – tree number 422. The White pear often occurs in large numbers in coastal forests and makes up and between 3 – 9% of the tree species of the Knysna forest. Uses in the garden: plant as a shade tree or privacy screen, plant a group of them to create a tree-lined driveway or mix a few with other species in woodland and forest clump, or as a stand-alone specimen tree. Plant it in well-drained, compost – fertile soils for best growth. While initial growth when young is quite slow, this does speed up as the tree matures. Prune the lower branches to form a single-stemmed tree. This fruiting tree does not create a mess so is an excellent choice for a townhouse garden. It does tolerate mild frost but will need protection in the first year. The White Pear will grow in paved areas without doing damage, and as the fruits are hard rather than pulpy, it makes no mess and dropped fruits are quickly swept up. A variety of birds eat the fruits - bulbuls, barbets, pigeons, starlings and Guinea fowl. For those starting up a forest or woodland area with a selection of pioneer trees, the White Pear can be planted at the same time with no adverse effects as the pioneer species shade out the area. Propagate by seed in late winter or early spring. Germination can take as long as 6 months and if treated with a fungicide, will germinate more successfully. Natural habitat and distribution: from Table Mountain in the Cape Peninsula, along with the coast through the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu- Natal and in Gauteng. According to the Reddata List of South Africa Plants, the natural habitats are coastal forests, edges of evergreen forests, in open woodlands and amongst rocks on grassy slopes,

Apodytes dimidiata
Apodytes dimidiata