Mackaya bella – Forest bell-bush – Bosklokkiesbos – Umzwatsi

Mackaya bella is an evergreen shrub or small tree reaching a mature height of 2 to 4 m. It bears beautiful sprays of showy, white to mauve, bell-shaped flowers in spring and early summer. In South Africa, this tree occurs naturally in the provinces of Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. It grows as an undershrub or small tree in evergreen forest, often along the edges of streams. Mackaya bella performs best in warm, frost free, sub-tropical to temperate regions.

The tree is usually multi-stemmed, with slender branches and smooth, pale brown bark. The glossy dark green leaves are broadly elliptic, they are simple and oppositely arranged. From spring to autumn, delicate sprays of white to pale lilac flowers grace the tree, followed by dark-brown, club-shaped capsules containing seeds released from October to December.

Ideal for informal hedges or screens in shady spots, Mackaya bella is also perfect for small gardens or narrow spaces. Its flowers not only attract bees and other insects but also provide food for the beautiful Blue Pansy butterfly and caterpillars. Moreover, these flowers draw insectivorous bird species, creating a vibrant ecosystem.

The Sun Trees Team

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