As a change from the blue/mauve and pink blossoms I have showcased recently, here is a red delight. One of the few indigenous trees that has survived the two-pronged onslaught of drought and the Urban Herd in the park below our home is a Huil Boerboon (literally the Weeping Boer-boon), although it is known as a Tree Fuschia in English – a name I am not familiar with. The boer-boon (farmer’s bean) part of the name is a reference to the edible seeds which bear a resemblance to the domestic broadbean (Vicia faba). The weeping refers to the copious amounts of nectar that spills from the bright red flowers of the Schotia brachypetala.
As you can see, the Huil Boerboon grows into an attractive tree with a wide-spreading, densely branched, rounded crown and a single trunk.
These trees are indigenous to the Eastern Cape as well as in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, and in the Northern Province. It is interesting to learn that the flowers only occur on old wood.
We often see these trees in the Addo Elephant National Park, where they are browsed so much that there is no opportunity for them to ‘shine’. It is a delight then to have this one able to grow according to its plan where I can see it daily.