Monday, November 19, 2012

Chionanthus foveolatus (Pock ironwood)

Each month, our readers look forward to our featured tree review. We conduct in-depth research into each species, to obtain as much information as we possibly can in order to offer you a truly valuable, expansive information resource. All the trees we feature are indigenous species which are suitable for use within commercial and residential landscaping projects and are easily grown throughout most of Southern Africa, but specifically the Western Cape.
The tough Chionanthus foveolatus, an attractive member of the olive family, is an asset to any landscape with its silvery grey, slender trunk, bushy crown and neat habit. Add to this the delightfully fragranced flowers and the striking, glossy, deep purple fruit and you have a tree that is perfect for any number of situations. The sweetly fragranced flowers attract bees and insects while many bird species delight in the fruit. Although the Pock ironwood occurs naturally along the South African coastline, these undemanding trees can be grown successfully throughout the country as they adapt easily to a wide range of soil and climatic conditions.

Botanical Name
Chionanthus foveolatus
Common Name
Pock ironwood
RSA National Tree No’
Hardy and ornamental, the Pock ironwood is a rewarding option for many landscaping applications. These charming trees are ideal for townhouse gardens or any area where space is restricted as they have non invasive roots and can be used as a single specimen tree or incorporated with shrubs and perennials to form an eye catching border. These tough trees are perfect for challenging coastal gardens where they can be used as windbreaks as they will tolerate high winds as well as extreme heat. Chionanthus foveolatus should be used far more extensively in the urban landscape as they are a truly decorative, low maintenance option for enhancing hot parking areas as well as adding fragrance and interest to streets and city business parks.
Height5 – 8 m
3 – 5 m
Growth Habit
The Pock ironwood occurs in coastal and mountain forests as well as on rocky hillsides and dune scrub
The bark is light to dark grey and on younger trees the bark has a scattering of corky patches
The ovate – oblong leaves are opposite, glossy dark green on top and dull pale green below. In the axils of the veins on the underside of the leaf there are small pits that show as bumps on the upper surface giving rise to the name Pock ironwood
The sweetly fragranced, creamy white flowers are occasionally tinged with pink and are carried in the leaf axils. They appear from September to December
The fleshy ovoid fruits are 1,5 to 3 cm in length and turn a deep purplish black when ripe
The brownish seed is 3 to 5 mm long
Growing regions
Chionanthus foveolatus is common all along the eastern coast of South Africa from the Cape Peninsula all the way up to northern Kwa – Zulu Natal and as far as Limpopo
Growing conditions
The Pock ironwood will grow equally well in sun or shade and although these attractive trees can withstand dry conditions and poor soil they will perform better when they are given a dressing of organic fertilizer and adequate water
Best season
Spring / Summer
These trees will tolerate some frost as well as windy and dry conditions
Pock ironwood is easy to propagate as the seeds germinate readily. Plant the seeds in seedling trays and keep moist
Growth rate
As with all the olive species, Chionanthus foveolatus has various medicinal properties. It is the strong, heavy, golden coloured wood however, that is highly valued for making fine furniture as well as attractive and durable household items. An interesting essence is made from this tree at Platbos and this is said to enhance receptivity, intuition, focus, clarity and perspective.
Dovyalis caffra flowersDovyalis caffra fruitDovyalis caffra leaves and thorns
            C. foveolatus Foliage and Flowers                          C. foveolatus Bark                                 C. foveolatus Foliage and Fruit

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