Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Galpinia transvaalica (Wild Pride of India)

Galpinia transvaalica is fast gaining popularity as a valuable and adaptable evergreen ornamental tree. Although this tree is naturally multi stemmed it can easily be turned into a single stemmed specimen with careful pruning. The highly decorative Wild Pride of India has an attractive rounded crown and produces an ever changing and colourful palette for much of the year as the older leaves turn bright crimson in spring before they fall, followed by the spectacular trusses of white flowers in summer and the clusters of bold red fruits in autumn. The lovely flowers attract hosts of insects which in turn attract a variety of insectivorous birds to the garden.
Botanical Name
Galpinia transvaalica
Common Name
Wild Pride of India
RSA National Tree No’
The Wild Pride of India is a beautiful addition to any garden but lends itself particularly well to the smaller or townhouse garden. The non-invasive root system makes it perfect for poolside planting or for any paved or restricted area. This fast growing, showy tree makes a lovely shade tree but can be very successfully pruned or trained into a hedge to form an attractive and colorful wind break, to create privacy or to screen unsightly walls or buildings or, as a beautiful evergreen backdrop to other plants. Where space permits, Wild Pride of India looks stunning when planted in groups of 5 or more. The small root system makes Galpinia transvaalica an excellent subject for large pots on patios and paved areas and is much sought after by bonsai enthusiasts.
Height6 – 9m
4 - 6 m
Growth Habit
Galpinia transvaalica occurs naturally at medium to low altitudes, mostly in  rocky areas of bushveld and woodland.
The bark is pale and attractive with a smooth texture on young trees becoming darker and cracking into blocks on older trees.
The opposite, leaves have conspicuously wavy margins and are glossy dark green on top and a dull, pale green below with thick set petioles. In spring the new growth is tinged a coppery pink shade while the older leaves turn a striking deep crimson before dropping.
Striking, dense, white to cream terminal and axillary flower sprays appear from November to May. Each flower has a bell shaped calyx and attractively crinkled petals.
The pink to reddish fruit appears in compact clusters from April to July. Each fruit consists of a 3-4mm round capsule with a hard skin that splits open when mature.
The small winged seeds are brownish.
Growing regions
The Wild Pride of India is found from Kwa Zulu Natal through Swaziland and up to Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
Growing conditions
These lovely trees prefer a sunny position and although they are not fussy about soil, will do well if given a generous application of compost and organic fertiliser in spring.
Best season
All year
Galpinia transvaalica will tolerate light frost as well as drought conditions.
The seeds should be sown in a light soil mix in seed trays and transplanted into individual bags when 2 pairs of leaves have appeared.
Growth rate
These trees are fast growing and will grow up to a metre in a year.
The hard, heavy wood of Galpinia transvaalica is fine grained and pale brown to yellowish brown. This wood is much sought after for turnery as well as the manufacture of fine furniture and decorative household items. This is an important fodder plant on game farms and cattle farms.

Galpinia flowersGalpinia foliageRapanea Leaves
           G. transvaalica Flowers                   G. transvaalica Foliage                   G. transvaalica Bark

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