In the Gorge with Kloof Conservancy — ‘Cussonia sphaerocephala’ or the Forest Cabbage-Tree

2018-11-13 06:01
PHOTO: Richard BoonThe evergreen Forest Cabbage-tree is not very common in Krantzkloof.

PHOTO: Richard BoonThe evergreen Forest Cabbage-tree is not very common in Krantzkloof.

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THIS is one of the less common trees to be found in Krantzkloof.

The Forest Cabbage-Tree is an emergent forest tree with large, dark green, complex compound leaves clustered in distinct round heads, hence the Latin name sphaerocephala or round head.

C. sphaerocephala is a regional endemic confined mostly to KwaZulu-Natal, where it grows mostly at low to medium altitudes.

Large specimens have minor buttressing at the base and corky stems. The flowers are arranged at the end of the long stems in dense spikes clustered in umbels, which are in turn arranged in a larger umbel, thus forming a twice-compound inflorescence. The inflorescences take two seasons to develop.

The greenish-yellow flowers are very attractive to insects, especially flies, and the fleshy, cone-shaped, purple fruits are eaten by birds and monkeys.

Cabbage-trees make excellent landscape feature plants, but they shouldn’t be grown where their roots can damage built structures.

Some of the other local species, such as Cussonia spicata and Cussonia paniculata, are smaller and better suited to small gardens.

In Krantzkloof, Cussonia are found on the grassy slopes of the gorge where they are exposed to a lot of sun. — Supplied.


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