A PURPLE BEAUTY

A tree like the ones shown below has been growing next to our back gate ever since we arrived here over thirty years ago. During this time it has produced the odd purple flower and clusters of dark berries favoured both by birds as well as the odd passer-by – none of whom has been able to tell me what it is called.

After so many years of drought, I was taken aback to find it covered with blossoms that first appeared at the end of September and have continued through October and November.

This has proved to be so not only for the tree on our boundary, but the beautiful flowers indicated that there are a number of these shrubs in the veld below where we live as well as elsewhere in our local area.

The mass of flowers, ranging from light to dark, are beautiful to see.

Several of the bushes I photographed were covered with bees.

They also had plenty of buds waiting to open.

As we near the end of November, the clusters of berries have become more prominent.

None of the tree guides I have illustrate these beautiful blossoms – nor do the wild flower guides – and I have drawn a blank on the internet. A positive identification would be most welcome…

…THE MYSTERY IS SOLVED! Thanks to Dries at de Wets Wild we now know it is a Puzzle Bush or Deurmekaarbos. You can access interesting information about it at https://treesa.org/ehretia-rigida/

45 thoughts on “A PURPLE BEAUTY

      • Dries, thank you very much for this signpost to a possible solution. I glanced at the Puzzle Bush in my search and was put off by the red berries. Perhaps the photograph on that site exaggerates their size. The leaves look similar as well as the colour of the flowers, although the latter seem less clustered than ‘mine’ do. I will take a closer look to see if I can see any red berries. I appreciate you going to the effort of helping to identify this beautiful plant.

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      • Glad I could help, Anne!
        Identifying trees can be frustrating and rewarding in equal measures.
        I’ve recently been trying to re-sharpen my skills in this area by taking my tree book along to places where the trees are marked / numbered, so that I can stand next to the tree and tick the key ID features mentioned in the book. I can’t tell you how many times those silly trees do not fit with their description in the book… Time they start reading! 😉

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    • You may with pleasure, Carol. I look forward to seeing a photograph of your completed painting in time. I have a few other close-up photographs if you would like me to send them on.

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    • When I was young people didn’t seem to look twice at our local flora. I became interested in it once I started hiking in the Drakensberg as a student. Now I feel I have a huge backlog to catch up on! I am pleased you enjoy my ‘discoveries’ too.

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