The indigenous Cape Ash is a beautiful, tall tree with a lovely canopy. Usually growing to a height of between 8 to 10 m, the tree is evergreen, but can be semi-deciduous in areas with cold, dry winters.
The tree has a spreading crown, up to 8 m wide and the leaves are compound with a glossy, green colour. New growth has a reddish colour and appears in spring. In areas that have colder winters, the foliage turn yellow and then red before falling to the ground.
The bark of the Cape Ash is striking with a rough texture and it ranges in colour from light grey to almost black. During spring, inconspicuous, pale flowers emerge that have a fragrant smell, attracting butterflies to the garden. These are followed by fleshy, berry-like fruit that starts off green and matures to a bright, red colour. The fruit is edible and appeal to birds and mammals alike.
A fast growing street and shade tree under favourable conditions, Ekebergia capensis thrives in full sun or semi-shade. It is drought tolerant for short periods of time, but is not heavy frost tolerant and will do better in areas where there is adequate water and more temperate winters.
The roots of the tree are not considered invasive, but as it is a large tree, care should be taken not to plant it too close to buildings. This is an ornamental tree that will attract insects and birdlife to the garden.