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Scientific name: Combretum molle  

Family: Combretaceae


Common Names:Velvet bush willow, Velvet leaf willow (Eng); fluweelboswilg, basterrooibos (Afr); umBondwe (Zul)

Dicoma capensis

Combretum molle

Description: Velvet bush willow is a small to medium-sized evergreen deciduous trees that grows up to 13 m high, with rounded crown. It has grey bark when still young and this becomes grey-brown or almost black when older.

Leaves are simple, opposite, densely covered by velvety hairs when immature and smoother when mature. Young leaves are attractive with light pink or orange colour.

Fruit is four-winged, about 20 mm in diameter, light green with reddish shade which turns red-brown when dry.

Flowers are in dense axillary spikes with greenish yellow colour, strongly scented and attractive to bees and other insects..

Flowering time: Its flowering time is September to November.

Ecology: Velvety bush willow is a tree of the bush and savanna regions of Africa, often occurring on ant-hills, in semi-evergreen thickets and frequently associated with quartzite formations.

Origin: South Africa

Plant Uses: African people use boiled root decoction to treat constipation, headaches, stomachaches, fever, dysentery and swellings, and as an anthelmintic for hookworm. The leaves are chewed, soaked in water and the juice drunk for chest complaints; it can also be used as an inhalant in a hot steam bath.

Propagation: It germinates readily from fresh seeds


Coates Palgrave, M. 2002. Keith Coates Palgrave Trees of southern Africa, edn 3. Struik, Cape Town.
Grant, R. & Thomas, V.1999. Sappi tree spotting. Tree identification made easy. KwaZulu-Natal coast and Midlands. Jacana, Johannesburg.
Palmer, E. & Pitman, N. 1972. Trees of southern Africa. Balkema, Cape Town.
Van Wyk, Braam [A.E.] & Van Wyk, P. 1997. Field guide to trees of southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.