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Nuxia oppositifolia

   (Family: Buddlejaceae)
Afrikaans: Watervlier English: Water Elder, Bush Nuxia, River nuxia Xhosa: iNkhweza  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Tree
Height: 2 - 5m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (light)
  Frost Tolerant (light)
Rarity Status:
Preferred rainfall: Winter
Preferred altitude: 500 - 2400m
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
  Loam (gritty, moist, and retains water easily),
Clay (fine texture, holds a lot of water),
Sand (coarse texture, drains easily)
Flowering time EDIT
x x               x x x
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower shape
  Flower info
  The flowers are white, tubular, very small and borne in dense clusters
Leaf shape EDIT
Leaf margin
Leaf type
Leaf arrangement
Leaf texture Smooth
Bark / Stem type
Leaf size 40 - 90mm
  Leaf info EDIT
  Leaves opposite or in whorls of 3, narrowly oblong, 4-9 cm, light green or greyish-green, finely hairy when young, glabrous when older; base tapering, running down the petiole; margin entire or bluntly serrate.
Fruit type EDIT
Fruit size Length: 3mm   
  Seed info EDIT
  Fruit a small capsule, c. 3 mm, only just protruding from the persistent calyx.
Description EDIT
The water elder is an evergreen shrub or small tree (2-5m) found along water courses, in riverine bush, in gorges or valleys.
Growing EDIT
The water elder is not common in cultivation, but it is useful for planting alongside water in the garden. It will also tolerate normal garden conditions, although the stature of the tree will be determined by the amount of water it gets. It is reasonably hardy to frost and is a fast grower under optimal conditions.

Propagate from semi-hardwood cuttings using rooting hormone. Seed will possibly be difficult to obtain but it should be sown in seed trays on a fine seedling mix. Cover lightly and do not allow to dry out. Avoid overhead watering as the seed is fine and will wash away. Instead place the tray in a clean, shallow container of water and allow the water to soak in to the tray from below. Once the surface is wet remove the tray from the water. Transplant the seedlings once they have formed their true leaves.
Distribution EDIT
Eastern, South-central and South Africa, Arabia and Madagascar.
In riverine thickets, among rocks and reeds in riverbeds.
History EDIT
A valuable asset to a bird garden as it attracts insects, which in turn attract insectivorous birds. It can also be grown in a container and forms an attractive pot specimen.

The water elder's reddish-yellow wood is occasionally used for furniture and ornaments.
Ecology EDIT
The stems and leaves are browsed by game and Black Rhino also eat the bark.
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