|At a Glance|
|Height||up to 25m|
|SA Tree Number||39|
|Conservation Status||Least Concern|
This beautiful tree grows up to 25 m tall in a forest habitat, but in a garden it can be treated as a medium-sized tree, expected to reach a height of up to 12 m.Trunk In the wild, where it is growing in an exposed, rocky position it may be nothing more than a shrub, but well-grown specimens will have a single, straight bole branching to form a dense, semi-circular canopy. The trunk of Celtis africana is easy to distinguish by its smooth, pale grey to white bark. It may be loosely peeling in old trees and sometimes has horizontal ridges.
Widespread in South Africa and Zimbabwe except for semi-arid and arid regions. Also found along south coast of Mozambique. Grows in a wide range of habitats, including grassland, bushveld, coastal dunes, river banks and dense forest.
Flower - Fruit
The flowers appear in spring (August to October). They are small, greenish, star-like and inconspicuous. Separate male and female flowers are produced on the same treeThe flowers are pollinated by bees. Masses of small, rounded, berry-like fruits on 13 mm long stalks follow the flowers, from October to February. When they turn yellow-brown to black they are ripe. Many birds like rameron pigeons, willow warblers, black-eyed bulbuls, mousebirds and crested barbets feed on the fruits and disperse the seeds.
The wood of Celtis africana is white to yellowish in colour and of medium hardness. It is tough and strong, and polishes well, but is difficult to work. It is a good general timber suitable for making planks, shelving, yokes, tent-bows and furniture.
Quite a common tree in the Kloof area and tall specimens are good for raptors! Known nests in white stinkwoods are a Crowned Eagle’s nest in the Krantzkloof Nature Reserve and a Black Sparrowhawk nest in the Ronald’s Kloof area
It is believed by some that the wood of this tree has power over evil and that by driving wooden pegs of this species in the ground, one is driving witches away (Palmer & Pitman 1972).
The name "white stinkwood" has caused some confusion. The name in fact refers to the very strong and unpleasant smell released when the wood is cut.