One of our best loved indigenous trees, the Dais cotinifolia is an unforgettable sight from November to December when it is covered in a cloud of soft, pink fluff balls. The new flower buds look like lollipops, with big round heads on thin stems, carried at the end of the branches. Once the buds burst open, many small, tubular flowers in tight bunches are revealed. These blooms attract a myriad of insects to the garden.
This fast grower has a neat, upright growth habit with a rounded, leafy crown. It reaches its usual heath of 4 to 6 m within four to five years. The Pompon tree has smooth, simple leaves that are bright green with a slight blue-ish hue. The bark of the tree is an attractive greyish-brown colour. Interestingly, the bark is exceptionally fibrous and tough and is still used to braid strong rope in rural areas.
The trees are fast growing, fairly drought resistant once established and frost hardy. The Pompom tree is deciduous in the very cold parts of our country, but only loses its leaves for a very short period at the end of winter in milder climates.
Dais cotinifolia has a non-invasive root system which makes it ideal for smaller gardens or large container planting. It also serves as a good sidewalk subject and can easily be used as a substitute for the exotic Lagerstroemia indica (Pride of India), providing a similar display of flowers. In addition, the Pompon tree can be planted as a specimen or background tree in a larger garden.
This is a versatile, ornamental tree that will flourish in most part of South Africa.