The magnificent, evergreen Trichilia emetica is best known for its glossy foliage and rounded crown, providing dense, dark shade in gardens and on sidewalks.
The single trunk branches low and the tree can grow to a height of 12 m or more with a spread of approximately 10 m. The leaflets are shiny and dark-green on top and slightly paler underneath. Leaves are elliptic in shape and are carried opposite or sub-opposite with the lowest pair smaller than the rest.
Small, green, sweet-smelling flowers appear from August to November and attract birds to the garden by producing copious amounts of nectar. Fruit are carried from December to March and burst open on the tree to show striking red and black seeds. These fruit and seeds are enjoyed by monkeys, antelopes and birds alike.
The Natal Mahogany grows fast when kept well watered throughout the year. Sensitive to frost, the tree is however capable of withstanding moderate winter drought. This popular, indigenous tree is ornamental and has a non-intrusive root system. Whether planted along a street, as a specimen tree in a large garden or as a shade provider in a parking lot, the Trichilia emetic is a welcome addition to any landscape.