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Family: Caesalpinioideae / Caesalpiniaceae
African Wattle, Weeping Wattle
Origin: South Africa
The generic name is derived from the Greek meaning “shield-bearing” and refers to the shape of the stigma. Africanu simply means from Africa. Peltophorum africanum is a small to medium-size semi-deciduous to deciduous tree of about 15Ft to 30 Ft tall, with a spreading crown, frequently branched from near the ground or 2- to 3-stemmed from ground level; bark smooth and grey on the young branches; twigs covered in reddish-brown hairs, but brown to grey and rough with lengthwise grooves on older branches and stems. Leaves alternate, compound, bipinnate, with 4-7 pairs of pinnae, each bearing up to 23 pairs of feathery leaflets; leaflets oblong, variable in size, dull green top side, pale green underside; apex rounded with a fine, hairlike tip; base asymmetric; margin entire; petiole and rachis covered with dense, rusty brown, velvety hairs; stipule distinctive in appearance, like small compound leaves, but falling early; when not in flower P. africanum can easily be confused with an acacia tree, except that it is completely without thorns. Flowers 7" long; all floral parts in 5s; flower stalks and the backs of sepals covered with brown, velvety hairs; petals about 5" in diameter, bright yellow and crinkled. The flowers are a source of pollen for bees. Fruit a flat pod, elliptic, tapering to apex and base, up to 5" x 1" with a winglike margin, very thinly woody, almost leathery, greyish-brown or yellow-tan and ripening to a dark brown, hanging in dense clusters, indehiscent. To propagate Peltophorun africanum fresh seed must be placed in hot water and left overnight to soak. Sow the following morning in flat seedling trays or directly into black nursery bags filled with a mixture of river sand and compost (5:1); keep moist. Germination percentage is high; seeds take 3-10 days to germinate. Seedlings and young plants transfer well. A fast-growing, frost- and drought-resistant tree commonly occurring at medium to low altitudes, in wooded grassland and along marginal valleys. It is resistant to a fair amount of drought. Grows mostly on well-drained soils. Sandy loam, medium loam, clay loam and sandy soils are all suitable. P. africanum is a fairly fast-growing tree will withstand some frost but needs protection for the 1st 2-3 years. When grown as a bonsai tree, an adult shape and a thick corky bark form in 2-4 years, with the leaves much reduced. The root system is not aggressive P. africanum can be successfully planted along fences to give shade protection to smaller stock and game during the hot summer months. An excellent garden shade tree, beautiful in flower. It is said to have all the requirements of a perfect avenue tree. Popular as a bonsai subject. The tree is often inhabited by communal caterpillars that produce large masses of silky grey threads, and in some areas is infested by frog-hoppers, whose copious watery secretions cause it to be called a rain tree.
3239 Peltophorum africanum - seedsAfrican wattle, weeping wattle. Small to medium-size semi-deciduous to deciduous tree of about 15Ft to 30 Ft tall. An excellent garden shade tree, beautiful in flower. Great plant for bonsai.
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