Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Scolopia mundii (Red Pear)

Scolopia mundii is an attractive, medium to large evergreen tree with a lovely, spreading crown and a graceful growth habit. The deep green, glossy foliage ensures that the tree looks attractive throughout the year. When the flowers appear the whole tree is bathed in a delicate fragrance while the profusion of golden or bright orange fruit gives a spectacular show from October to January. When growing in a forest, the Red pear grows taller and has a somewhat wider crown than in an open situation, where it will be smaller with a well shaped, dense crown. This lovely tree does well in all but the very driest regions of the country adapting easily to local growing conditions.
Botanical Name
Scolopia mundii
Common Name
Red pear
RSA National Tree No’
If you are establishing an area with a woodland theme, the Red pear is well worth considering as it will adapt perfectly to these conditions in any medium to large garden. However, as this tree remains beautiful throughout the year, providing interest in every season, it will also make an excellent focal point in the landscape, providing shade as well as creating the perfect environment for shade loving plants. As Scolopia mundii has a dense crown and tolerates a wide range of growing conditions, these trees will also make an attractive and effective wind break, while the fragrant flowers and brightly coloured fruits, will attract a wide variety of birds and insects to the garden.
Height6 – 25m m
3 - 6 m
Growth Habit
Scolopia mundii occurs mainly at high altitudes in natural forest and forest margins as well as in kloofs, on rocky or grassy mountain slopes and along streams.
The trunk is tall and occasionally fluted reaching a diameter of 1.3m. The bark on young trees is smooth and grey becoming rough and darker as the tree matures.
The leaves are glossy green above and paler green below with a stiff, leathery feel. They are ovate to narrowly ovate with a closely, and often finely toothed margin and red petiole.
The inconspicuous, fragrant, greenish white flowers have numerous stamens and are borne in branched heads or axillary racemes from May to August.
 The yellow to orange, smooth, globose, berry like fruit of the Red pear appears in large quantities around October and measures up to 10mm in diameter.
Each fruit contains one or two dark seeds.
Growing regions
Scolopia mundii is widespread throughout South Africa occurring from the Cape peninsula all along the southern and eastern coastline of the country and inland towards Lesotho, Swaziland, Mpumalanga, the Free State and North West.
Growing conditions
Red pear trees are not fussy about specific growing conditions so they will perform well when planted in a large hole to which a generous amount of compost and organic fertilizer has been added. Water adequately during dry spells, especially for the first few years.
Best season
Autumn - Winter
These lovely trees will tolerate both full sun or shade as well as a wide range of temperatures including cold, and frost.
The Red pear is easy to propagate from vegetative tip or heel cuttings that have been planted in a rich, well drained medium and kept moist until growth commences.
Growth rate
The wood of the Red pear is close grained, hard and heavy and comes in a striking array of colours from pale brown to pinkish or even tinged with red, making it popular for turning decorative household articles as well as for making fine furniture. This strong wood was also formerly used in wagon building. The bark is used by various indigenous peoples for medicinal purposes. The fruit is edible but not very tasty.
Mountain seringa flowersMountain seringa foliageMountain seringa bark
                S. mundii Flowers                S. mundii Bark                     S. mundii Fruit

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