A medium to large tree evergreen tree with striking foliage that looks lovely throughout the year, Curtisia dentata is the only tree native to Southern Africa in the Cornaceae family. It is found growing naturally on rocky outcrops. This tree is familiar for its decorative white fruit that hangs like small bells during winter. It is a slow grower and will not get too large in an urban environment, however if it grows in a forest environment that is shaded and cool, it can reach heights of up to 15 metres.

The bark is grey in colour when trees are young becoming rough, dark brown to black and deeply square-fissured as the tree matures. The dark green hairy leaves of the Assegai tree have toothed margins, these attractive leaves make this tree a good focal point in the garden. The cream unscented flowers produced by this tree in Spring or Summer are velvety and appear in clusters. The small rounded white fruits attract birds to the garden.

When planted on more open sites, Curtisia dentata can have a wide spreading canopy, the canopy may be irregular and narrow to V- shaped if the space is restricted. The root system of this tree in non-invasive making it suitable for small gardens and pot planting. Curtisia dentata’s ability to grow in shady environments makes it ideal for indoor planting. It also makes a good long-lived hedge in full sun or light shade conditions.