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Heteromorpha arborescens


Water Needs


Heteromorpha arborescens
Tree medium
Parsley Tree

7 x 6 m


Light Conditions

sun; semi-shade




cream November to March; spring summer autumn

Garden Situation

sun; semi-shade; Small area trees; wildlife butterflies; rockery; shrubbery; narrow spaces; clay soils;


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


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

Rain Season


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APIACEAE –the Carrot Family of aromatic herbs, often with tuberous rootstock. Parsley, celery, parsnip, carrots, caraway & aniseed are some of the foods in this family. While other plants of this family have medicinal value. Tree No: 568.1 & 568.2 Heteromorpha- Greek, from heteros, meaning different and morpha meaning shape, the fruit is comprised of two unequal parts. arborescens – Latin, from arbor, tree-like. Very variable tree in leaf and stem form. Common names : Parsley-trees (English), Pietersieliebosse (Afrikaans), umbangandlala (isiZulu) A small to medium, single or multi-stemmed tree, 3 – 7m tall. It occurs in wooded grassland, bushveld and on forest margins. It is deciduous, cold-hardy, drought-hardy, tolerates sun or shade. The roots are not destructive and it makes an interesting outdoor container plant. Fast- growing. Note: the young plant initially needs watering and protection from the cold. The bark is quite distinctive, is shiny, smooth & waxy. The bark peels away in paper- thin horizontal strips. The leaves are variable in size and shape and may be simple to variously compound with 5 or 7 leaflets. Light green to grey-green and may turn yellow and red before falling in autumn. When crushed they smell of parsley or parsnips. The flowers are small, cream to greenish yellow and borne in round, compact umbels at the end of branches. Often strong- smelling. Flowering times are December to January. The fruits are elliptic (unequal parts) to pear-shaped & slightly winged. Appear from February to August & are creamy brown. Ecology: the often strong-smelling flowers attract insect pollinators. Insect – eating birds will forage in the foliage and flowers. The trees provide roosting and nesting sites to birds. Not known to host either butterfly or moth larvae. Widespread in eastern regions of S Africa, from southern Cape to Eastern Cape, eastern Free State, KZN, Swaziland to Gauteng to Limpopo. Also further north in Africa and the Yemen.

Heteromorpha arborescens
Heteromorpha arborescens
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