The indigenous Schotia brachypetala is best known for its dense clusters of showy, red flowers that erupt in spring. Naturally occurring in the sub-tropical areas of South African, from the Eastern Cape to the Northern Province, the Weeping boer-bean flourishes in warm, frost-free areas with plenty of rain during summer. In these climates the tree is often evergreen, but it is semi-deciduous in colder regions. Initially the tree is slow growing and should be protected from frost in colder regions.
A medium to large tree, Schotia brachypetala generally grows to a height of 10+ m and has a wide-spreading, densely branched, rounded crown. The trunk form varies, from specimens with single trunks to low branching specimens with multiple trunks. The bark of the tree has a smooth texture and can vary in colour from grey to a muted brown colour. The foliage is decorative, emerging with a coppery red colour that changes to bright green and matures to a dark, glossy green.
Distinctive dark red flowers are produced from August to November. These flowers are filled with nectar, sometimes producing so much that it drips out of the flower, hence the common name of Weeping boer-bean. The nectar entices many birds and insects to the tree, but care should be taken that the tree is not planted in car parks or paved areas as the overflow nectar can be problematic.
Fruit take the form of hard, woody pods that split on the tree, exposing flat, pale brown seeds from February to May.
Schotia brachypetala is a highly ornamental tree with its pretty foliage and spectacular flowers. In addition, the tree will attract a myriad of birds and insects to your garden.