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(01st March 2012)

 

 

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Apodytes dimidiata

 

Apodytes dimidiata (umDakane or White Pear) is a bushy tree, with white fragrant flowers and small, dark red berries. It is usually about 5 m tall (but reaches a height of 20 m when growing in deep forest), and it is indigenous to Southern Africa.
The taxonomical family placement for this and other 
Apodytes is currently under debate. (Despite its English name, this tree is not related to the familiar Pear tree of the northern hemisphere.)[1]

 

In the open, this evergreen species grows as a tall shrub or small tree of about 5 meters in height.

However, in a more shady environment, such as deep afro-montane forest, it can reach a height of over 20 meters. Its dense, shiny foliage is bright-green and it has smooth, gray bark.

It frequently produces masses of tiny, white, bisexual blossoms which have a sweet fragrance. These are followed by strangely curved, black and scarlet berries. In South Africa this is officially a protected tree.

This is a very difficult tree to identify at first. In particular, it is often confused with Pterocelastrus rostratus. The best identifying characteristics of Apodytes dimidiata are its petiole and young terminal branchlets which are a unique reddish colour.

 

Distribution

Apodytes dimidiata is a prominent and common tree in South African forests. It grows naturally from Cape Town in the south, all the way along the east coast of southern Africa as far north as Kenya and inland as far as Gauteng. It is usually found in coastal thicket, afro-montane forest and mountainous bushveld.

[edit]Growing Apodytes dimidiata

This trees characteristics (Evergreen attractive foliage; fruits that are not fleshy and therefore will not cause a mess; and a gentle non-invasive root system that will not damage paving) mean that Apodytes dimidiata is an ideal tree to plant around paved areas, near swimming pools, next to buildings, in small gardens and also anywhere that may need shade throughout the year.

The white pear is best propagated by seed, though germination is extremely slow. The seed takes about half a year to germinate and the young plants are also relatively slow growing. However, these trees grow very much faster as they become larger and more established. [2]

 

Apodytes dimidiata

Scientific classification

Kingdom:

Plantae

(unranked):

Angiosperms

(unranked):

Eudicots

(unranked):

Asterids

Order:

(unplaced)

Family:

(unplaced)

Genus:

Apodytes

Species:

A. dimidiata

Binomial name

Apodytes dimidiata
C.A.Sm.