White Ironwood

Vepris lanceolata

Wit Ysterhout (Afr.), Umozana

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The white ironwood is a lovely small tree or shrub which is guaranteed to bring birds and butterflies to your garden. It has light to dark silvery grey smooth bark and leathery apple green leaves. The tree produces tiny creamy flowers from December to March, and the fruit ripens from May to July bringing hoards of airborne wildlife to your garden. Look out for porcupines, however, who like to eat the bark and will eventually ring-bark and kill your tree. ZA Distribution: Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Western Cape.
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Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Summer, Autumn

Fruiting time

Autumn

Harvesting

Harvest as needed.

Propagation

Cuttings

Take 12cm cuttings from terminal ends of branchlets. Dip into hormone rooting powder and insert into potting soil. Keep moist.

Special features

Attracts birds

A number of bird species have been noted to love the fruits, such as the Redwinged Starling and the Crested Barbet.

Attracts useful insects

Three different species of caterpillars of the Swallowtail butterfly family feed on this tree and the best known of the species is the Citrus Swallowtail butterfly, Papilio demodocus.

Pot plant

Is a good candidate for a container and can be trimmed into shapes.

Attracts butterflies

Special features

Origin

South Africa

Natural climate

Temperate

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Full Shade, Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Moist

Soil type

Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Acid, Neutral, Alkaline

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Medicinal

In traditional African medicine, the powdered roots are used to treat influenza and colic.

Manufacture

The wood is used to produce wheel spokes, handles, roof beams, furniture, ornaments and turnery.

Personality

Family

Rutaceae

Flower colour

Cream, Yellow, Green, White

Scent

Mild

Problems

Generally problem free.

Companion plants

Credits

profile iconVepris lanceolata
by Karin Behr, Pretoria National Botanical Garden, November 2004 (Copyright South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa)
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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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