The handsome Forest bushwillow is a hardy semi-deciduous tree with glossy dark green foliage that turns vivid red and purple in autumn. Its distribution in South Africa stretches from Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo to Mpumalanga. This fast growing tree is classified as a medium to large tree and reaches a mature height of 4 to 10m in a favourable environment.
Combretum kraussii is well known for its foliage that changes colour highlighting the changing seasons in the garden. In spring, the tree produces new green leaves, some of these leaves turn white along with the white flowers born in summer. When in flower, this tree attracts insects to the garden, it is pollinated by a wide range of insect species including bees. The smooth dark grey bark of C. kraussii also adds on to the beauty of the tree. Four-winged pink to red fruits follow the flowers, these stay on the tree for a long time.
Although it prefers mild to warm climates, the Forest bushwillow is reasonably frost and drought resistant. Furthermore, this tree tolerates shade well and can be grown as a container tree for the patio. It is also an ideal as shade tree for gardens, pavements and along driveways or on paved areas as its root system is non-invasive.