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Bush-willows (Combretaceae)

This section of the Garden contains plants from the family Myrtaceae, as well Combretaceae.

The combretums or bush-willows comprise an important component of the Sour Lowveld Bushveld and sometimes occur in large stands. They are easily identified by their distinctive, very decorative fruits, each of which sports 4 - 5 conspicuous wings. The genera Quisqualis, Pteleopsis and Terminalia are also members of the family Combretaceae.There are four species of Combretum and two species of Terminalia that occur naturally in the Lowveld Garden. (Terminalia has 2 continuous wings that impart a shield shape to the fruit.)

Combretum zeyheri, large-fruited bush-willow, (left) has enormous fruits, initially pale green, ripening to a warm pale brown.

The flame creeper, Combretum microphyllum,(right) has tiny flowers with minute petals, but showy stamens.


Fragrant catkins, abuzz with bees, adorn the velvet bush-willow, Combretum molle, in spring time. Young foliage has a soft, velvety texture.


Combretum hereroense bears large bunches of dark brown fruits.


The blooms of Combretum mossambicense are the most delicate, pale shade of pink.


Terminalia prunioides has wine-red, shield-shaped fruits and snowy white flowers.

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