Rapanea melanophloeos– Cape beech – Boekenhout – iGcolo

Rapanea melanophloeos is a relatively hardy, medium-sized, evergreen tree with dark leaves that have a purplish tinge to them. This tree can reach a mature height of 4-18m under favourable environmental conditions. It is found growing naturally in damp areas of mountain and coastal forests or swamps and bush clumps.

Young leaves are pale green and maroon. When mature the leaves become leathery and dull, they are dark green on top and paler below. The leaves also have reddish leaf stalks are and clustered mainly at the end of the branches. In winter, spring and early summer small, whitish or creamy yellow clusters of flowers appear on the tree branchlets. These are followed by thinly fleshed spherical fruits which are green when young and purple when matured. The fruits attract birds to the garden.

The Cape beech is useful as a hardy screening plant as it is dense and evergreen. It also produces suckers which form bush clumps. It has a good coastal and wind tolerance making it an excellent choice along coastal areas. While it’s a great addition to your garden, remember to give the tree some space, and plant it away from buildings and paved areas because its roots are invasive. The Cape beech is medicinal, roots and bark are widely used medicinally for respiratory problems and heart complaints.

The Sun Trees Team