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A picture of a Cabbage Tree

Cabbage Tree

Cussonia spicata

Also known as

Spiked Cabbage Tree, Common Cabbagetree

Cussonia spicata by Nicola van Berkel (

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size







  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Cabbage Tree

Cussonia spicata
Cussonia spicata
Cussonia spicata
Photo G Nichols
G NIcholsa

Cabbage Tree Overview

The Cabbage Tree is a strikingly beautiful garden tree, widely cultivated for its striking evergreen foliage and strong architectural form. It is quick-growing, relatively long-lived and can attain a height of 15 metres. Its unusual form makes it a feature in the garden as well as in its natural habitat. The genus Cussonia as a whole is less well known to horticulture, despite the fact that it hosts numerous very attractive species from dwarf to very large trees. In addition to its popularity as a decorative garden tree and useful accent plant, the leaves of Cussonia spicata are traditionally used as a treatment for indigestion. The Cabbage tree is relatively easily cultivated but does not tolerate extreme degrees of frost. Plant it as a single specimen, or in a group of 3-5 to use as a focal point in the landscape, but refrain from planting it close to houses, paving or other structures.

Common problems with Cabbage Tree

Cussonia are sometimes prone to attack by psylla, a small insect that causes pimple-like growths on the leaves, causing the leaves to be distorted and become unsightly. This can be controlled with the use of a systemic insecticide.

How to harvest Cabbage Tree

Seeds should be harvested as they appear, and sown fresh.

How to propagate Cabbage Tree


Use softwood cuttings for propogation. Root first in a growing container before planting sapling in the garden.


To propagate from seed, wash the pulp off the seed and plant in prepared seed trays immediately. Sow immediately into trays, use a fine seedling mixture, cover lightly, seed take from 3-8 weeks to germinate. The seedlings can be transplanted into bags in the second growth year.

Special features of Cabbage Tree

Attracts birds

The ripe fruit feed Bul-buls, Loeries, Starlings, Mousebirds, Barbets and other birds.

Pot plant

Young specimens works well when planted in large pots on a sunny patio or any other paved area.

Attracts butterflies

Attractive flowers

Produces a large head of tiny flowers on thick-set spikes resembling a strange candelabra.

Attracts bees

Attracts useful insects

Attracts bees, butterflies and other insects.

Other uses of Cabbage Tree


The leaves are traditionally used as a treatment for indigestion.



The leaves of Cussonia spicata are traditionally used as a treatment for indigestion. The roots are succulent and edible, mashed roots have also been used in the treatment of Malaria.