Cussonia spicata

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Distribution:  Cussonia spicata occurs in parts of the Karoo region in South Africa.
Description:  The trees height vary according to their rainfall area, plants in a high rainfall area may reach a height of 10m while plants in low rainfall areas may only reach 5m in height. The leaves form a "feather duster"/umbrella shape at the end of the trunk.  The leaves are between 30-60cm in length and dark-green in colour, they are deeply divided.  Leaves are digitate (oblong in juvenile plants and ovate in adult plants).  Bark is thick and corky.  Roots are tuberous.
Flower: White flowers are borne on a woody branch.
Propagation:  Seeds and cuttings.
Cultivation:  Drought hardy, regular water and feedings in the summer months with little water in the winter months.  (My plants get watered twice a week in the summer months and once every two to three weeks in winter).

Common names: Umbrella Tree, Kiepersol, Cabbage Tree.  The word Kiepersol is a corruption of the Portuguese word, Kippe-solis, it describes the the arrangement of leaves at the end of the trunk.

Point-of-interest:   In times of drought the large tuberous roots are eaten by the local people and used by others as a treatment for malaria.  The leaves are reputed to be good cattle fodder.

Photographer: Etwin Aslander of Selecta Succulents - Plant/Seed Source

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