False Bride’s bush
4 x 4 m
cream; white; September - February; spring; summer
shade; damp shade; wildlife birds; narrow spaces; fast-growing easy-care
woodland forest; wetland ponds
thicket; subtropical east coast
Find informative indigenous gardening articles in our web magazine - www.theindigenousgardener.co.za
The perfect shrub to highlight in this soggy month of January, is Tarenna pavettoides, the False Bride’s bush, as it thrives in the wettest conditions. It’s natural habitats are the damp floors of Scarp forests and on forest margins, in swamps, along the edges of streams, and in ravines. In the garden, it does best in moist situations or in areas with good rainfall. Tarenna is a good choice to plant alongside a stream or pond. The species' name of ‘pavettoides’ indicates the similarity of its flowers to the Pavetta species, all of which have ‘Bride’s bush’ in their common name. Tarenna pavettoides occurs along the warmer wetter coastal habitats of the Eastern Cape and KZN, and up into the eastern Escarpment. While usually shrubby, without the lower branches this medium to large shrub can form a single –stemmed small tree of no more than 4 meters high. It has value though as a multi-branched shrub as it forms a good screen in both sun and shade. Being a coastal species it enjoys a warm summer and cannot tolerate frost. There are just two species of South African Tarenna, the other being T. junodii. Common name of Climbing Tarenna, it grows in altitude dune, sand forests and forest margins of the Zululand coast, Mapupaland, and into Tanzania. Description: the False Bride’s bush is a fast growing shrub that epitomises the lush, tropical look so loved by coastal gardeners. The large leaves (70 – 200 x 20 – 90 mm) are glossy, bright to dark green in colour with conspicuously raised veins on the underside. Broadly elliptic in shape, they taper to a pointed drip-tip commonly seen on tropical forest species. (See Notes from Nature for further drip-tip info). Margins can be slightly wavy. In young shrubs, the bark on the slender stems is smooth and pale becoming rough and a darker brown with age. White to cream flowers carry a light fragrance and are beautifully displayed against the dark green leaves. Flowering and fruiting takes place from January/ February to July, and the round black fruits are eaten by birds. Natural habitat: on Distribution range: SA: Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal; also Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Malawi.