|At a Glance|
|Height||6 - 15m|
|SA Tree Number||555|
|Conservation Status||Least Concern|
A medium-sized, single-trunked tree with blue-green, waxy, stalkless leaves which are borne in rosette-like clusters at the end of thick, angular twigs. The leaves occur in opposite pairs, are darker above than below, have a distinct yellow central vein and are heart-shaped at the base (cordatus is the Latin word for heart-shaped).
The foliage forms a dense canopy.
The bark on young trees is white/silver and smooth, in older trees it is dark, fissured and corky.
As the common-name suggests, they are water-loving trees and are generally found near water, but also on rocky outcrops. The Waterberry is found along the Eastern Coastal belt from Port Elizabeth Northwards, most of KwaZulu Natal except the Drakensberg area and most of the bushveld areas of Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North-West Provinces. and as far north as Kenya.
Flower - Fruit
Whitish-pink flowers from October - June.
The petals fall off early, leaving a puff of stamens which are heavily laden with nectar.
Plum-shaped, purple berries, roughly 1.9 cm long, are evident from October until May. They generally have a single stone and are fleshy.
Their aggressive root system makes them a good choice for stabilizing the banks of water systems.
A good garden tree; decorative, good shade, bird attractant and a good screening tree. The flowers carry a lot of nectar, attracting a myriad of insects and insect-eating birds. In the Kloof area the fruits are eaten by Purple-crested and Knysna Turaco, Green pigeon, Cinnamon dove, bush-buck, bush-pigs, bush-babies, grey duiker and monkeys.
It is a host tree to 2 Charaxes and 3 Playboy butterflies and to the Emperor moth (Saturnidae family) and Crowned Hornbills feed off the many large caterpillars.
The timber can range from light red to pale chocolate brown, has a beautiful grain and is strong and elastic. It is used for furniture and canoes.
Krantzkloof Nature Reserve
A frequently occurring tree in Krantzkloof, mainly along river banks, including both picnic sites, but also on the forest margins.
In the Kloof area the fruits are eaten by Purple-crested and Knysna Turaco, Green pigeon, Cinnamon dove, bush-buck, bush-pigs, bush-babies, grey duiker and monkeys.
It can be invasive and will spread rapidly in any well-watered area.
There are some magnificent specimens in the park particularly along the stream close to Buckingham Road.
Can be used as an indicator of a shallow water-table.
They are known to be fire-resistant. In Zululand one can see where Oecophylla longinoda (Tailor ants) have spun silken web-nests in these trees.
The fruit are edible to humans and can be brewed into a drink. When the leaves are crushed, they emit a smell of Eucalyptus. The trees are popular with bee-keepers.
For cultivation purposes the seeds should be planted when fully ripe but not dried out.
Epiphytic orchids thrive in these trees.