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Trees of the year
Trees of the year

 

Scientific name: Croton pseudopulchellus  

Family: Euphorbiaceae 

 

Common names: small lavender fever-berry (Eng.); kleinlaventelkoorsbessie, sandkoorsbessie (Afr.); uHubeshane (isiZulu)

Dicoma capensis

Description:  Croton pseudopulchellus is a perennial shrub; usually growing up to 4 m tall with a sweet smell that attracts many insects.

The bark is grey, smooth to roughish; branchlets are reddish-brown covered with hairy scales.

Leaves are alternate or sub-opposite, clustered near the ends of branchlets, lanceolate to elliptic, about 60 mm long and 40 mm wide, often with a fine point. The upper surface is shiny, dark green, pale or silvery white below, covered with reddish scales; the leaf stalk is up to 20 mm long.

Flowerare small and yellow in colour, with male and female flowers in the same head and produced in short, compact heads about 12 mm long, at the ends of branches.

Flowering time October to Februar

The fruit is a capsule, with three compartments, that open spontaneously when ripe, covered with yellow-grey hairy scales.

Fruiting time:  December to June.

Origin: East, west and southern Africa.

Plant uses:  The powder of root bark is applied to syphilitic ulcers and is also applied to the chest as a remedy for chest-affections. Decoction of root and leaf sap is drunk to treat asthma. The root powder and leaf decoction is drunk for the treatment of headache. The root powder is also used for the treatment of colds. Dried leaves are burnt, and the smoke is inhaled for the treatment of fever. Leaf decoction is rubbed on the chest for colds. Decoction of leafy twigs is drunk for the treatment of gonorrhea.

Propagation: The plant is easily propagated by cuttings and may also be propagated from seed

References

  • Coates Palgrave, K. 1997. Trees of southern Africa. Struik, Cape Town.
  • Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. 1997. Field guide to trees of southern Africa. Struik, Cape Town. 
  • http://pza.sanbi.org/croton-pseudopulchellus

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