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Cunonia capensis

Family: Cunoniaceae (Cunonia family)

Common names: Butterspoon Tree (E); Rooiels (A);

Native to: Southern Africa
Tree
An attractive evergreen forest tree.

Cunonia capensis

EVERGREEN

SHADE

FROST HARDY

MEDIUM WATER REQUIREMENTS

MEDIUM GROWER

FRAGRANT

ATTRACTS BIRDS

ATTRACTS INSECTS

FLOWER COLOUR:

AVERAGE SIZE:

10m x 7m
FLOWERING TIME:
J F M A M J J A S O N D
FRUITING TIME:
J F M A M J J A S O N D

Cunonia capensis

DESCRIPTION

A fine forest tree that occurs naturally along stream banks and in moist forests.  In harsher conditions it can form a dense shrub.  The bark is rough and dark in older specimens.  It bears small white to cream-coloured flowers borne on long, dense spikes.  The fruit is a 2-horned, leathery capsule that splits open to release tiny seeds.

NATURAL HABITAT & DISTRIBUTION
Cunonia capensis occcurs naturally on stream banks and in moist forests with abundant populations around Knysna.
WILDLIFE & ECOLOGICAL BENEFITS
The flowers attract butterflies and other pollinating insects.
WATER REQUIREMENTS
Water moderately.
LANDSCAPING USES
GARDEN THEMES
Forest
BARK
CULTIVATION
Germination from seed is erratic. Seedlings grow slowly in the first year but rapidly once roots are established.

12 Responses

  1. Hi Linda

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    Typically a tree’s shape will be altered once its apical bud has been removed. Note that the severity will depend on the extent of the cut and the age of the tree when this is done.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  2. How will the tree grow if the top growing point is broken off? Will it make side branches or will it grow upright again?

  3. Hi Mario

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    The pollen from this tree is not a common irritant for people who suffer from hayfever.

    Bees will be attracted to the flowers but that is only for a short season.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  4. Good day… I would like to know if this tree will give hay fever problems and if it attracts bees that will give problems as I’m considering to plant it in front of my house.

  5. Hi Desmond

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    It is difficult to say what has caused this. Monitor the remaining trees for signs of disease. If any signs appear, take a leaf cutting to your nearest nursery for advice.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  6. Hello, I have three of these trees in my garden in Cape Town.
    One of them, lost all its leave , and then pods, started to go black.
    I opened it , and it had a very sticky, white goo, inside.
    The tree has subsequently died.
    What caused this?

  7. Hi Amar

    Wow! Fantastic to hear from so far away.

    Cunonia capensis generally reaches a height of 5m and can spread up to 12m. The growing conditions may be slightly different in your area but I’m sure you can train the tree to fulfill your requirements.

    It’s not a messy tree so you don’t need to worry about the shed leaves, flowers or fruit causing any issues.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  8. Hello from San Francisco Bay Area!

    One of our local nurseries carries this tree and I am strongly considering adding this to my South African & Australian garden primarily for summer shade. I’ve been told that with smart and timely pruning it’s possible to train the tree to become more spreading while keeping the height around 5 meters. Does that seem reasonable in your experience? I need to contain the height to protect a view and can use as wide a shade as possible because I do have much horizontal space in the patio.

    Also, I’d like to know the nature and extent of litter. What time of the year and how much does it shed leaves, flowers and/or pods?

    Thank you so much!

  9. Hi Evanne

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    Cunonia capensis grows naturally in your area. The seeds are minute and readily to a bird’s body for dispersal. So it is highly probable that a feathered visitor popped in to help you with some gardening!

    It’s a stunning tree which requires at least 10 metres to produce a beautiful, full canopy. If your space doesn’t permit this, try to transfer it to a container until you manage to find it a suitable home.

    Flourish!

    Glenice

  10. Will this tree grow easily in Fish Hoek? I have one that I think is bird seeded in my garden, which is a small one in a retirement village.

  11. Hi Pellie

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    The Cunonia capensis grows very well in Gauteng, so should handle full morning sun.

    Remember to protect your tree from possible frost for the first two winters.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

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