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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Fluted Milkwood

Afrikaans name: Bosstamvrug

Fluted Milkwood

Fluted Milkwood tree

Photo © Steven Herbert

Chrysophyllum viridifolium

The Fluted Milkwood is found along the eastern coastal regions of South Africa. It can grow to a height of around 40 metres, but some specimens are only 10 metres in height. They are mainly found in coastal and evergreen forests. In South Africa they are only found in KwaZulu-Natal and the adjacent region of Eastern Cape. Beyond South Africa it can be found in Eswatini (Swaziland), Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Kenya.

The trunk of this large tree is straight and can reach a diameter of 1.5 metres. The bark is normally grey or mottled brown and grey. As its name suggests its trunk is fluted. The leaves are fairly narrow, up to 9 cm in length, and darker green on top than below. During summer it gets clusters of tiny whitish flowers. The fruit is up to 3 cm in length and yellowish in colour. The brown seeds are very sticky. The fruit is normally on the tree in late summer.

The fruit of the Fluted Milkwood is eaten by Baboons and various species of birds. It can be a great tree for a garden if space permits! It can be grown from seed. It is the host plant for the larva of the Boisduval’s False Acraea butterfly.

Fluted Milkwood

Fluted Milkwood

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: 277

The Complete Field Guide to Trees of Natal, Zululand and Transkei - Author: Elsa Pooley - Year Published: 1994 - Page: 388

Trees of Southern Africa - 3rd edition - Author: Keith Coates Palgrave - Year Published: 2002 - Page: 875

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