Well-shaped and reasonably robust, the low-branching, wild peach has smooth, pale grey bark that becomes rough with age. The variable leaves of this evergreen tree may resemble those of the peach. The tiny, bell-shaped flowers which bloom from August to January (spring to summer), are yellow-green, with male and female flowers on separate trees. The hard, round, knobbly, greenish yellow capsule which forms in February to July (late summer to mid-winter) splits to expose shiny black seeds, enclosed in an oily, sticky, bright orange-red coat. Kiggelaria africana is found in coastal and inland forests (where it can reach 20 m), in bushveld and woodland, along streams and on rocky hillsides-'koppies'. It is widely distributed in Africa, from Kenya in the north to Western Cape in the south. This is the only species of Kiggelaria in South Africa. It is named after Franz Kiggelaer, Curator of Simon van Beaumont's garden. The Latin word, africana means 'comes from Africa'. The Crowned Hornbill, Olive Woodpecker, Cape Thrush, Cape Robin, Cape White-eye, Southern Boubou and mousebirds enjoy the colourful fruits. Caterpillars of the Acraea horta butterfly (and A. igola) often strip this tree bare of foliage - one stage in a natural cycle, as the trees quickly recover and put out a nice new set of leaves. Larvae of the Battling Glider also feed on the tree. The Diederik, Redchested, Klaas's and Black Cuckoos love caterpillars, so these beautiful birds will visit the garden. The hardish, pink-brown wood is a useful general purpose timber (beams, floorboards, furniture). It was once used for the spokes of wagon wheels.
USDA Zone - 8
Season to sow - Spring/Autumn
Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to hear about our latest offers, growing tips and products!