The semi-deciduous to deciduous Peltophorum africanum is a tree with a wide distribution in Southern Africa. Its distribution stretches from the Democratic Republic of Congo in the North to KwaZulu-Natal in the South. It occurs naturally in wooded grasslands, woodlands and along margins of vleis.
The African wattle has a rounded, spreading crown that is very attractive. The silver-grey leaves are acacia-like and are covered with fine hairs. They are twice compound with a pair of leaflets at the tip. During winter when it is leafless, this semi-deciduous tree reveals its aesthetically pleasing branch structure. The bark is smooth and grey on the young branches becoming brown and rough as the tree matures.
This tree produces yellow flowers that will appear as erect dense terminal sprays. The flowers have crinkled petals and produce copious amounts of pollen and nectar, attracting insects, bees and butterflies. Peltophorum africanum has a fairly fast growth rate of up to 1 m per year under favourable conditions. It can reach a mature height between 5 to 7m.
It makes a good shade tree on the lawn and can be successfully planted as a street tree as the roots are not invasive. The African wattle is resistant to frost and a fair amount of drought. It is a good bonsai subject. Young leaves and pods of this tree are eaten by livestock. This tree is also medicinal, roots are used to heal wounds, toothache and throat sores; root, leaves and bark used to clear intestinal parasites and relieve stomach problems.