|At a Glance|
|SA Tree Number||227|
|Conservation Status||Least Concern|
A semi deciduous tree up to 25 m tall with a spreading crown in good conditions, but much smaller in shallow soils. Bark is smooth and grey brown on younger branches, flaky when older. Compound leaves have 3-7 pairs of opposite, lance-shaped leaflets and are up to 250 mm long overall; glossy dark green or blue green on top with fine silky hairs on the underside.
These trees are found in coastal regions of KwaZulu-Natal (apart from Maputaland) and the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. They are said to be most common in the Pondoland area of the Eastern Cape. They grow in forests and on forest margins.
Flower - Fruit
The attractive flowers which occur in summer are pea-shaped, mauve to purple and held in an upright inflorescence on the ends of the branches. They emerge from rusty brown buds which are formed in spring.
The fruits are flat, woody pods covered with a thick layer of golden brown hairs, held erect, splitting when dry to release flat, oblong seeds; valves spiralling when dry.
Umzimbeet's hard wood with its attractive coloration is valued for the manufacture of furniture and small domestic implements.
Today it is used for making tough, bicoloured walking sticks which are sold to tourists.
It can also be used as a windbreak and harvested at 10-15 years for planks in high rainfall areas. It also makes an attractive garden and street tree and it does not have an aggressive root system.
Not as common as it should be!
Millettia is named after Charles Millet of Canton, China (circa 1830) and grandis means large.