African tropical rainforest South African Forest Dry Bushveld Bulbs Cycads Corkwoods & Cabbage Trees Baobabs Wild figs Bush willows Legumes Cascades Cafe

Tour the Lowveld NBG
Legumes (Fabaceae)

The legumes are divided into three families, Mimosaceae, Caesalpiniaceae and Papilionaceae. Most of the legumes, with a few notable exceptions, have pods in the true sense of the word. There are numerous legumes scattered all over the Lowveld Garden, trees and shrubs that were there long before the Garden was established. Most of them are components of the Sour Lowveld Bushveld and many of them have truly magnificent flowers.

This marvellous fever tree, Acacia xanthophloea, that stands near the Cascades Café, is a well-known landmark in this Garden.



Acacia gerrardii is an unusual study in contrasts, with dark, rugged, almost shaggy bark and masses of creamy globular inflorescences. (Mimosaceae)


The nectar-laden cups of Schotia brachypetala, weeping boer-bean, invite birds and insects to partake of their delicious offering. (Caesalpiniaceae)


Common coral tree, Erythrina lysistemon, has "lucky-bean" pods. (Papilionaceae)


The name African wattle is a serious misnomer, if not a downright insult, to Peltophorum africanum, which has splendid yellow inflorescences and is not a pest plant. (Caesalpiniaceae)


Pride-of-de-Kaap, Bauhinia galpinii, was named in honour of Ernest Galpin, a bank manager who collected plants in Barberton in the early 20th century. (Caesalpiniaceae)


Clouds of tiny yellow "sweetpeas" adorn Pterocarpus rotundifolius after the first good rains of summer that resemble true pods only in the early stages of development. This tree is the source of a much sought-after timber. (Papilionaceae)

© National Botanical Institute SA NBI Home
Gardens Home
This Garden's Home