Schotia brachypetala

Schotia brachypetala

schotia brachypetala

African Tree Fuchsia, African Walnut or Weeping Boerboon.

Coming into flower in late spring is Schotia brachypetala which come from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. This tree was named after a Dutch head gardener of Schoenbrunn botanic garden in Austria, Richard van der Schot who visited South Africa in the 18th century. The tree belongs to the pea (Leguminosae) family.

This drought resistant tree grows to 10 or more metres high and sometimes nearly as wide. It can be kept smaller by pruning. It is frost tender when young but will stand some frost when it is more mature. The bark tends to be black and rough.

In our climate the tree is deciduous for a short time at the end of winter then new coppery-red foliage appears followed by large clusters of rich, deep red, scented flowers arising off the branches. The compound leaves mature to a deep shiny green.

The common name African Walnut is because the heart wood, good for joinery, is very similar to walnut being walnut-brown to nearly black. The name Weeping Boerboon (farmers bean) refers to the seeds which look like broadbeans and are good to eat. The weeping part refers to the copious amounts of nectar which can drip from the flowers.

A decoction from the bark is used medicinally and also it can be used to make a red-brown to red dye.

Trees can be propagated by cuttings and seed. Seedling plants take about five years to flower.

A great tree for our climate but not easy to source.