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Diospyros whyteana

 Bladdernut

Bladdernut

The Bladdernut is one of those small trees with so many uses in both small and larger gardens. Its natural habitat extends right from the Western Cape up the coastal belt through to the Highveld, in forest margins, mountain slopes, riverbanks and shady kloofs.

In the wild it can grow into a rather tall tree or large shrub of up to 12 metres but in gardens it tends to remain as a small rounded shrub or small tree, reaching 5 metres in height and an equal width. The flowers are very attractive; they are creamy-yellow and bell-shaped and they have a sweet fragrance. They are followed by berries which are enclosed in a papery pod, similar to a gooseberry. The berries ripen to a red or purple colour and are a great feast for Louries, African Green Pigeons and other fruit eating birds.

The Bladdernut’s small, glossy, green leaves, makes it a perfect specimen for creating an indigenous hedge or for use as a screening plant. It is fairly fast growing and should be planted with large amounts of compost. Do protect the young tree from frost and place a thick layer of leaf mould around the base of the plant to retain necessary moisture.

Not only is the Bladdernut a good garden subject, it also is a handsome pot specimen so, whether you want a small tree large enough to hold a picnic under or you are looking for a good indigenous bonsai candidate, Diospyros Whyteana might just be the answer!