One of our best indigenous ‘wildlife’ trees for gardens is the Kiggelaria africana. Attracting butterflies, insects and birds, this evergreen to semi-deciduous tree makes a great shade tree that will also offer protection from the wind.
Growing to a height of 4 to 10 m, the Wild peach is single stemmed and has a rounded, spreading crown. Trimming the lower branches of the tree can enhance the shape and will also assist in making it a wonderful sidewalk tree.
Kiggelaria africana is not related to the fruit producing peach tree. Pale yellow to greenish white flowers are produced from August to January, while fruit are appear from February to July. The fruit capsules burst open to expose smooth, black seeds which are covered with a sticky, red coating.
Under optimum conditions, the Wild peach will grow up to 1 m a year. Frost hardy when older, the young trees should be protected from frost for the first year or two. This tree is fairly hardy and will grow in winter or summer rain conditions tolerating different kinds of soil. It has a non-invasive root system, but should be planted a bit further from your home as many butterfly species pupate on the leaves of the tree.
This shapely tree will provide a visual screen where necessary and add the ‘butterfly’ touch to a wildlife friendly garden.