Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cordia caffra (Septee tree)

Cordia caffra is such a gorgeous tree that it should be planted far more extensively in cities and towns throughout the country. The beautiful, dense crown, decorative bark, masses of sweetly fragranced flowers and eye catching orange fruit ensure that the Septee tree looks lovely throughout the warmer months while in winter, the interesting patterns created by the bare branches, add a dramatic accent to the landscape. The decorative fruit, although edible, is not very tasty, birds however, find it quite irresistible while bees and insects are attracted to the fragrant flowers.
Botanical Name
Cordia caffra
Common Name
Septee tree
RSA National Tree No’
The Septee tree is so decorative and has so many attributes that make it ideal for the urban landscape that it can be used in numerous situations. This small to medium sized tree is perfect for creating a truly breathtaking focal point in any landscape, large or small, or for planting as a beautiful avenue along driveways, roads or waterways. Planted in groups in larger gardens or parks, these delightful trees will provide permanent interest. The rewarding Septee tree will grow quickly, creating an established look in a fairly short time. Cordia caffra responds well to pruning making this an ideal choice for creating privacy along property boundaries as well as areas where space is restricted.
6 – 7m
4 - 5 m
Growth Habit
The lovely Cordia caffra occurs naturally in forest, coastal forest and riverine bush
The attractive, smooth bark is creamy brown with pinkish mottling. Areas where the bark flakes off are pale grey to white underneath
The thin, drooping, alternate leaves are glossy dark green above and paler green below. They are ovate to narrowly ovate with a slightly toothed margin
From September to November, the pretty, sweetly fragranced, creamy white, bell shaped flowers appear in terminal clusters
The abundant, striking fruit consists of a deep orange drupe with a large, cup like calyx
Seed is contained in a small capsule and has a pleated cotyledon
Growing regions
The Septee tree occurs along the coastal forests of the Transkei and Kwa Zulu Natal up to southern Mozambique and north eastern Limpopo
Growing conditions
Cordia caffra prefers a semi shaded position but will also do well in full sun. Plant in a large hole to which plenty of compost and organic fertiliser have been added. Protect the stem from frost for the first few winters
Best season
Cordia caffra will tolerate windy conditions as well as light frost
Sow seeds in a good seedling mixture and keep moist. The seed germinates readily.
Growth rate
Fairly fast, trees will reach flowering stage in approximately 7 years
The attractive heart wood of Cordia caffra is pinkish in colour, easy to work with and polishes beautifully, making it suitable for the manufacture of fine furniture. Young wood is used for building huts while dried sticks are used for starting fires the traditional way through sparks caused by friction. Medicinally, parts of the tree are used for the treatment of fever, wounds and painful or inflamed eyes.

Rapanea flowersRapanea fruitRapanea Leaves
                C. caffra Foliage and Flowers                       C. caffra Fruit                                   C. caffra Bark

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Thanks for the good tips on how to take care of these species. Its going to take a bit to get used to them when I plant mine.

    -Samudaworth Tree Service
    Tree Pruning Brooklyn