Kiggelaria africana

Water Needs

moderate

Kiggelaria africana
Tree medium; Tree large
Wild Peach

6 – 11 m

Size

Light Conditions

sun; semi-shade

Frost

moderate; hardy

Flowers

yellow-green August to January; winter spring summer

Sun, dry shade; semi-shade; wildlife birds bees insects butterflies butterfly host; windy exposed; sandy soils; shrubbery; screen; shade tree; wind tolerant; clay soils;

Garden Situation

Habitat

woodland forest; coastal eastern cape; grassland; bushveld; hot dry; fynbos; rocky places

Region

thicket; Highveld; subtropical east coast; bushveld savanna; karoo; western cape

Rain Season

winter; summer

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Description

The Wild Peach provides food for such a variety of birds, butterflies, and insects that it should find a place in most South African gardens where conditions are favourable. You may need at least two trees, though, to ensure flowering takes place as the Wild Peach is a dioecious species, having male and female flowers of separate trees. In the wild trees often reach 13-15 m in a forest situation, but in gardens, it is usully a 6 – 11 m tree. Size and leaf growth is influenced by temperature and moisture; in the open or as part of a forest/ woodland, trees are tall with large leaves; those in dry, sunny situations are shorter, and leaves are smaller and thicker. (Ref: Making the most of Indigenous Trees; Fanie & Julye-Ann Venter). The dark green leaves are pale underside soft and velvety to the touch. Bird species, like Rameron pigeons, cinnamon doves, olive woodpeckers, Knysna and purple-crested Taracos, hornbills, robins, thrushes starlings, cuckoos, and mousebirds barely wait for seed pods to open to feast on the bright red seeds. Caterpillars of Acraea horta, the Garden Acraea, and the Dusky-veined Acraea, Acraea igola, as well as the Battling Glider, can strip most of the leaves, but gardeners should not concern themselves for this activity encourages a new flush of leaves for the next batch of larvae. Flowers are a beautiful, delicate yellow-green and small, only 10 mm in diameter. They appear just as winter ends and the display continues right through to January. As flowers fade, round knobbly-skinned seed pods develop that split into a 5-pointed star shape as they ripen. Black seeds are covered with a sticky, oily red skin and are relished by an extensive list of birds. Those in the sun do fruit and flower better than shade siblings. The distribution range is extensive, from the Eastern Cape, into the Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, and the Western Cape, according to the SANBI website.

Kiggelaria africana
Kiggelaria africana