Chionanthus peglerae is native to temperate, forested regions and tropical Asia, but can be found worldwide, except for the Arctic. The common name for this tree ‘Giant pock ironwood’ comes from the pock marks that are found on the axils of leaves. These pock marks are believed to provide habitat for symbiotic microbes. In South Africa, the Giant pock ironwood is found on the banks of mountain slopes, wooded grassland as well as along the edges of rivers and streams, from the Eastern Cape through to Natal and Transkei.
This tree has a spreading canopy forming a round crown. The bark is whitish, silvery grey to grey brown. It is also smooth, matt textured with creamy white dots scattered on the branches. This evergreen tree is characterised with dark green leathery leaves with distinct venation. From August to February sweetly-scented, creamy-white flowers are produced. The scented flowers attract honeybees, wasps, bees and butterflies. Wild animals also browse the leaves and birds enjoy nesting on the high branches. After flowering, fleshy drupe dark purple fruits are born, these lure vervet monkeys, fruit eating birds and bats to the garden.
Because of its non-invasive root system, Chionanthus peglerae is ideal for planting on pavings, driveways, pools and small gardens. This versatile tree can be easily pruned into a tough, dense hedge or screening plant, that will give privacy, shade and shelter throughout the year.