This small tree or scrambling shrub, native to South Africa, is also known as the Wing-leaved wooden pear. Occurring naturally in the forest margins or bushveld of Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Kwa-Zulu Natal, it attains an average height of 5m with a spread of 4 m, but can grow up to 15 m high under optimum conditions.
Best known for its sweet-smelling flowers that attract bees and insects to the garden, Schrebera alata has greyish to light-brown bark that has a rough texture. The tree is evergreen and the foliage an attractive shiny, dark green colour above with a paler underside. When young, the leaves have a velvety texture.
From October to February, the tree produces clusters of waxy pink or white flowers that have a lovely fragrance that intensifies during dusk. It has tufts of purplish hair and the nectar attracts many tiny insects, including dusk-flying butterflies and moths. After flowering, small, pear-shaped fruits appear that change from green to brown as the fruit matures. The woody, brown fruit splits into two when ripe, producing about eight papery, winged seeds that are dispersed by the wind.
The Wild jasmine is a fairly fast grower that grows equally well in full sun or semi-shade. It is a hardy specimen that is water wise and it can tolerate mild frost conditions. However, the trees should be protected from frost when young. Ideally, the tree will flourish in mild to warmer climates.
This is a lovely, decorative tree that will do well in a small garden environment. The tree can be pruned to a standard and will attract butterflies and insects with its sweet nectar. In addition, the fragrant blooms will perfume your garden during warm, summer nights.