Cordia caffra, Septee, Saucer-berry

Cordia caffra

Septee, Saucer-berry
Family: Boraginaceae
Origin: South Africa
USDA Zone: 9-11?
USDA Plant Hardiness MapSmall tree 10-20 ftSemi-shadeFull sunModerate waterWhite, off-white flowersEdible plantPlant attracts butterflies, hummingbirdsDeciduous plantEthnomedical plant.
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The thin leaves are alternate, with a slightly toothed margin, shiny dark green above and paler green below. The scented, cream-white, bell-shaped flowers are borne in clusters at the end of the branches in spring/early summer. The fleshy fruits are deep orange drupes and look attractively appetizing to both humans and birds when ripe. They are edible, but not very tasty. The large calyx forms a saucer around the base of the fruit and may account for the common name.

The tree occurs naturally in coastal and riverine forests and bush. Although this tree thrives in semishade, it can also be planted in full sun where it grows almost equally well.

Although it is found growing in warm climates, this tree can tolerate mild frost. It is advisable to protect the stem of a newly planted tree against frost for the first few winters, or until the stem at ground level reaches at least 80mm in diameter.

Parts of this tree are used medicinally to treat sore eyes, fever and wounds.

See article about cordia.

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