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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Umzimbeet tree

Afrikaans name: Omsambeet

Umzimbeet tree in Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve

Umzimbeet tree

Photo © Steven Herbert

Millettia grandis

The Umzimbeet is an attractive tree that grows to a height of 15 metres. In spring it gets bunches of purple flowers.

The leaves of the Umzimbeet are narrow and bluish-green in colour and have small hairs underneath. It gets mauve or purple flowers in spring and has seed pods in summer and autumn.

This tree attracts butterflies such as the Striped Policeman, Pondo Charaxes and Orange Barred Playboy. They lay their eggs in the tree and the caterpillars feed off the leaves and seed pods.

The wood used to be used for furniture, domestic implements and other purposes but not so much anymore. The Zulus used to use it to make the shafts of their spears and knobkerries (knobsticks).

Leaves of the Umzimbeet tree

Photo © Steven Herbert

Bark of the Umzimbeet tree

Photo © Steven Herbert

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References and further reading

A Field Guide to the Trees of Southern Africa - Author: E. Palmer - Year Published: 1983 - Page: 161

Sappi Tree Spotting: KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape - Author: Val Thomas and Rina Grant - Year Published: 2004? - Page: 148

The Complete Field Guide to Trees of Natal, Zululand and Transkei - Author: Elsa Pooley - Year Published: 1994 - Page: 164

The Natal Bushveld - Volume 1 - Author: Natal Parks Board - Year Published: 1981 - Page: 67

Trees of Southern Africa - 3rd edition - Author: Keith Coates Palgrave - Year Published: 2002 - Page: 377

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