Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bolusanthus speciosus (Tree wisteria)

In full bloom, Bolusanthus speciosus creates a display of unequalled splendor. This spectacular small to medium sized tree with graceful drooping branches, covers itself with trusses of fragrant, violet-blue flowers throughout spring and early summer. Although it is deciduous, the Tree wisteria is only without leaves for a short time in early spring. The conspicuous dark, brownish black trunk, offsets the light green leaves and the magnificent flowers to perfection. This most beautiful member of our wide range of indigenous trees is a protected species in South Africa which means that no wild specimens may be damaged, cut down or removed.
Botanical Name
Bolusanthus speciosus
Common Name
Tree wisteria
RSA National Tree No’
 The unsurpassed beauty of the Tree wisteria as well as the non invasive root system makes this one of the most successful garden trees. Planted in close proximity to the beautiful spring flowering Euryops virgineus with it’s masses of golden yellow, honey scented flowers, the combined effect is absolutely breathtaking. Bolusanthus speciosus is perfect for enhancing any area where space is at a premium and is the perfect choice for townhouse gardens. This magnificent tree looks stunning in a mixed border to add colour and height or as a single specimen on a lawn or alongside a patio. When planted in a group of 3 or 5 the effect is superb while an avenue of these lovely trees along a driveway or street is always a showstopper. When planted in large pots the Tree wisteria creates a stunning focal point for patios and paved areas. This tree is very popular with Bonsai enthusiasts.
6 - 8 m
3 - 4 m
Growth Habit
Tree wisteria commonly occurs at medium to low altitudes in bushveld or wooded grassland areas of the country, often on heavy, alkaline soil.
The brown to blackish brown bark is rough with deep longitudinal fissures
The greyish green, compound leaves have up to 11 sickle shaped leaflets with narrowly tapering tips. The base of the leaflets is markedly asymmetric. Leaf margins are irregularly scalloped or minutely toothed.
From August to January the tree is covered with beautiful, fragrant, violet-blue, pea shaped flowers that are borne on 30cm long sprays
The papery brown fruit pods are tardily dehiscent.
The hard, bean like seeds are brown.
Growing regions
Bolusanthus speciosus is widespread throughout southern Africa and can be found growing from Angola to Zambia through to Mpumalanga and all the way down to Kwa Zulu Natal.
Growing conditions
Plant the Tree wisteria in a sunny position in a large hole to which plenty of compost has been added. Water regularly for the first few years.
Best season
Spring / Summer
Once established Bolusanthus speciosus is frost hardy to -7 degrees and will tolerate both drought and windy conditions.
The seeds germinate readily when soaked in warm water overnight. Plant in a good seedling mix and keep moist. Transplant into bags once the true leaves appear. Plant out into the garden when the trees are about 1 to 2 years old.
Growth rate
If well cared for up to 800mm per year
The beautiful, hard wood of Bolusanthus speciosus is used to make excellent quality furniture and household articles. Being termite resistant, the straight stems are used for fence posts. Both the roots and parts of the bark are used medicinally to treat ailments such as various stomach problems and abdominal cramps.

Dovyalis caffra flowersDovyalis caffra fruitDovyalis caffra leaves and thorns
                 B. speciosis Bark      B. speciosis Flowers & Leaves     B. speciosis Seed

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