An indigenous, attractive small tree or large shrub, the Wild Pomegranate gets its common name from the resemblance between its young flowers and that of the true Pomegranate. However, Burchellia bubalina belongs to the family Rubiaceae which is part of the coffee family. Hardy and evergreen, this tree can grow to a height of 4 m in ideal conditions, but normally attains a height of 2.5 m with a spread of 1.5 m in a smaller garden.
Best known for its clusters of tubular, apricot coloured flowers in spring, the tree has glossy, green leaves which are soft when young and mature to a leathery texture. The orange coloured flowers appear mainly during spring and summer. The blooms are rich in nectar, attracting many bird species as well as butterflies. These are followed by green, urn-shaped fruits that are also borne in clusters. As the fruit ripens, it becomes brown in colour with a woody exterior and these can remain on the tree for many months. The bark of the tree is smooth, coloured grey-brown and as it ages, the bark has a rough texture.
The Wild Pomegranate is a slow grower that can be grown in sun or semi-shade and it will start flowering very early in its life. It is fairly resistant to drought but needs protection from extreme frost and cold winter winds. A beautiful, ornamental specimen for the garden, Burchellia bubaline can also be planted in containers as it has a non-aggressive root system.