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Kiggelaria Africana

 

This is part of the Kei Apple family and the common name is, as we all know, Wild Peach, due to the close resemblance of the leaves to our Peach trees, although in the Kiggelaria, the leaves can have almost any shape, with hairy upper or under side or smooth, roughly toothed, with the midrib often reddish velvet.

The leaf size in nature is also very varied; from 2,5 cm to 16 cm. long and 1,3 cm. to 8 cm wide. The colours of the leaves vary usually being a light grey-green, yellow-green or sometimes dark green and below grey or yellow.

The small greenish-yellow flowers are male or female, borne on separate trees - the male in bunches of three to seven, the female, slightly longer, singly in the axils of the leaves. They bloom in spring and summer and are pollinated by flies.

Kiggelaria range from Table Mountain to at least Mount Ki1tmanjaro in the north and grow in a wide variety of soil and climate. This evergreen tree can grow from a shrub in exposed positions to a handsome tree of 15 metres.

The bark is smooth and grey when young, turning to rough and scaly when matured. Growing habit is strictly upright even in old specimens. Young shoots are flexible and can be wired, but the bark is soft, so care must be taken.

Once arranged, only nipping is necessary, although it must be done frequently. An occasional thinning out of the branches will be required as it is a fast grower.

Kiggelaria can take heavy pruning as it will shoot readily from old wood but scars must be treated with care - otherwise die-back and wood rot will occur.

Propagation is either from seed, cuttings or collected from the wild.

Pests: Caterpillars of Garden Acrea - a red and black butterfly - aphids, red spiders and scale.

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Last old slow heron. ~ Anon

Random Bonsai Tip

Tree stabilizers - Sew cotton/canvas tubes or use plastic shopping bags partly fill with sand and use as stabilizers when transporting trees by car.