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Cussonia spicata


Water Needs

low; moderate

Cussonia spicata
Tree medium; Tree large
Cabbage Tree

10 m


Light Conditions

sun; semi-shade




cream November to March; spring summer autumn

Garden Situation

feature tree; wildlife birds ; sun; semi-shade; clay soils;


fynbos; woodland forest; rocky places; grassland; coastal eastern cape; coastal kzn; bushveld


thicket; subtropical east coast; bushveld savanna; highveld; western cape

Rain Season

winter; summer

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With multiple thick, dark brown trunks that become corky with age, the Cussonia creates what designers call ‘base weight’, something on which the eye can rest. It is the most widespread of the Cabbage tree species with a provincial distribution from Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, and Western Cape. Though it can reach heights of 18 m in the wild, in the garden it usually grows to 6 m. The dark red – black fruits produced on long spikes attract Louries, bulbuls, starlings, barbets and mousebirds, and the greenish-yellow flowers, seen in April and May, attract numerous insect species. Natural habitats are forest margins, in wooded grassland, bushveld, on rocky outcrops. It has an aggressive root system.

Cussonia spicata
Cussonia spicata
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