This underrated tree is cultivated widely for its prolific flower display during late spring to summer. Originally, the Cape Chestnut was studied in the Cape, and came by its name because explorer William Burchell saw a resemblance to the Horse Chestnut in terms of flowers and fruit; however it is not closely related.
This tree is indigenous, deciduous to semi-deciduous and can withstand the rigors of our Highveld winters and summers. It can reach up to 20m in a forest, but generally grows up to 10m in a cultivated setting. The Cape Chestnut has a dense, spreading canopy with dark green, large leaves. The trunk is smooth with a mottled grey appearance and often becomes lichen covered when older.
The most stunning aspect of the tree is the large flowers that are surprisingly delicate up close. The flowers are pale pink in colour and cover the tree canopy from October to December.
The Cape Chestnut requires a warm, sunny position and thrives in deep fertile, well composted soil. In ideal situations, the young tree will grow up to 1 m per year.
An ideal ornamental tree, the Cape Chestnut offers ample shade in the heat of summer, but lets the sun through for warmth in winter.