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Trees of the year
Trees of the year


Scientific name: Pittosporumviridiflorum  

Family: Pittosporaceae 


Common names: Cheesewood, White Cape Beech (E), Kasuur, Witboekenhout (A), umVusamvu, Umkhwenkwe, Umphushamvu, Umphushane (Z), Kgalagangwe (NS), Mosetlela (SS), Mpustinya-poqo, Nkasur (TS), Mulondwane, Mutanzwakhamelo (V), Umgqwengqwe (X)

Dicoma capensis

Flowers and leaves of Pittosporumviridiflorum

Description: Pittosporumviridiflorum varies in size from a shrub of about 4m in height to a large forest tree of up to 30m. The bark is pale brown to greyish with distinctive whitelenticels.

Leaves are usually wider above the middle, dark green and glossy and are often with the white milkwood.

Flowers Small, greenish-white, sweetly fragrant flowers.

Flowering time:  Summer.

Fruit The plant is very showy when the capsules split open to release numerous small, shiny, orange-red seeds, which are covered in a sticky, resinous exudate.

Origin: South Africa

Uses:  The stem bark, which has a bitter taste and strong resinous or liquorice smell, is used medicinally. Decoctions or infusions are widely used to treat stomach complaints, abdominal pain and fever. It is said to ease pain and have a calming effect. Dried, powdered root or bark is sometimes added to beer as an aphrodisiac

Propagation: Plant is propagated by means of softwood or semi-hardwood cuttings.


Palmer, E. & Pitman, J. 1972.Trees of Southern Africa.Balkema, Cape Town.
Coates Palgrave, K. 1983. Trees of Southern Africa.2nd ed. Struik, CapeTown.
Van Wyk, Ben et al. 1997. Medicinal Plants of South Africa. Briza, Pretoria.
Coombes, Allen, J. 1992. Guide to Plant Names. Hamlyn, London.
Smith, C. A. 1966. Common names of South Africa Plants. Botanical Research Institute, Pretoria.
Venter, F. & Venter, J-A. 1996. Making the most of indigenous trees. Briza, Pretoria