Tree of the week: Diospyros lycioides – Bluebush – Bloubos

Good day,

Diospyros lycioides is a deciduous indigenous tree characterised with an open crown and drooping branches. This tree is normally found growing naturally on rocky habitats, its distribution stretches from Limpopo in the north to KwaZulu-Natal in the south. Depending on the prevailing climatic conditions, the Bluebush can be slow or fast growing reaching a mature height of about 5m.

Leaves of D. lycioides are simple, alternate and sparsely hairy. The descriptive name ‘Bluebush’ refers to the distinctive blue-green colour of the foliage, that display flashes of red during the cool, dry autumn. The bark of this tree is dark grey to brown and has a smooth texture on mature specimens.   This tree bears sweetly scented, white bell-shaped flowers from September to December. These attract butterflies and other insects to the garden. After flowering, fleshy red fruits are produced.

The Bluebush is a very decorative tree for the garden, when planted as a specimen tree, it will look stunning especially when covered with the red fruit. This tree and is very successful as a container plant. It grows well either in full sun or semi-shade conditions and is an excellent plant to train as bonsai. D. lycioides is very drought resistant and cold hardy, enabling it to tolerate adverse conditions. It is known as a pioneer species for wildlife gardens.