Tree of the week: Commiphora marlothii – Paperbark corkwood – Papierbaskanniedood

Commiphora marlothii is a deciduous to semi-deciduous tree named after a South African pharmacist and botanist Dr Rudolph Marloth. This tree is characterised with a sparsely branched roundish crown. The distribution of Commiphora marlothii stretches from Tropical Africa in the north to Gauteng in the South. This small tree can reach a mature height of 13m under favourable growing conditions.

This tree has an interesting bark that peels off to expose the green underbark. The leaves are compound and alternately arranged. They are clustered at the ends of branchlets. The Paperbark corkwood is attractive during the summer months with its soft light green leaves and also during winter when the green bark and peeling yellowish pieces form a stunning focal point. Flowers appear with the first new leaves in October to November and will be in clusters. These are followed by semi-round stone fruit enveloped by a 4-armed yellow pseudo-aril.

Fruits of Commiphora marlothii are edible and ripe fruits can make a good quality jam. When planted in a rock garden, C. marlothii creates a beautiful focal point. It can also be successfully grown as a container plant. This tree is popular for bonsai specimens.

Information sourced from Sun trees