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Cunonia capensis

   (Family: Cunoniaceae)
Afrikaans: Rooiels, Botterlepeltjie, Botterlepelboom, Elsehout English: Butterspoon Tree, Red Alder Xhosa: Igqwakra, Umqwashube Zulu: Umaphethu, Umhlalane  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Tree
Height: 5 - 10m
Special properties:
  Frost Tolerant (light)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Preferred rainfall: Winter
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
pH: neutral
Flowering time EDIT
  x x x x              
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower type
  Flower scent EDIT
  Insects and butterflies
  Flower info
  Spikes packed densely with small cream flowers with long stamens forming a bottlebrush-like head.
  Leaf info EDIT
  Dark green, serrated, glossy leaves and contrasting reddish leaf-stalks. The yellow and reddish growth tips are enclosed by two large stipules pressed together forming a spoon-like shape, from which it gets its common name 'Butterspoon Tree'.
Fruit type EDIT
Fruit colour
  Seed info EDIT
  The fruits are small, brown, two-horned capsules which release very fine, sticky seed.
Description EDIT
Cunonia capensis is beautiful, relatively small, evergreen tree with dark green, serrated, glossy leaves and contrasting reddish leaf-stalks.
Growing EDIT
Grows well in both sun and shade.

Has a non-invasive root system and can be very fast growing.

Does not grow well in hot and dry conditions, requiring a moist, mild climate and a generous supply of water.

It may be grown from seed in deep seedtrays filled with seedling mix. The seed is very fine and can be covered very lightly with finely sifted seedling mix. The young plants will need plenty of water and a sheltered aspect.
Distribution EDIT
From the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, and into Mozambique, along the coast and adjacent inland areas in Afromontane forests and moist areas, especially along watercourses.
History EDIT
The genus Cunonia is named after John Christian Cuno who in the 18th Century published a book of verse about his garden in which many exotic plants were growing. The specific name, capensis, means "of the Cape".
The tree is reportedly used for treating nervous complaints.

The wood has been used to make furniture, has a fine grain and is relatively hard and heavy.
Ecology EDIT
The large bottlebrush-shaped flowers that appear in autumn are sweetly scented and attract insects and butterflies.
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