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A picture of a Cabbage Tree

Cabbage Tree

Cussonia spicata

Also known as

Lowveld Cabbage Tree, Spiked Cabbage Tree, Kiepersol, Sambreelboom, Waaiboom (Afr.), Motshetshe

Photo by Nicola van Berkel (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Tender

8a-11b

USDA zone

-12°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

Max

15m

Min

4m

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Cabbage Tree

A photo of Cabbage Tree
A photo of Cabbage Tree
A photo of Cabbage Tree
A photo of Cabbage Tree
A photo of Cabbage Tree

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. This is a common feature plant. ZA Distribution: Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Western Cape.

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

Cuttings

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

Seed

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

Medicinal

The leaves are traditionally used as a treatment for indigestion.

Edible

Medicinal

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.