Indigenous to South Africa, Pterocelastrus tricuspidatus naturally occurs in a wide variety of habitats across the country. This is a variable tree that range in size and shape, depending on where it is grown. In forests it may reach up to 20 m in height with a straight trunk, but more commonly, it is a low-spreading tree and even a dense, bushy shrub under certain conditions. Classified as a small to medium tree, it normally grows to between 3 and 7 m in height.
Evergreen, the leaves are thick and glossy with new growth displaying a reddish-orange colour. Small, white flowers appear from July to November and these are fragrant, attracting bees and insects. The flowers develop into small, three lobed capsules which have a bright orange colour when the fruit matures. These fruits, containing one to three reddish black seeds, are enjoyed by many fruit-loving birds.
The attractive Candlewood is adaptable to and tolerant of a wide variety of conditions. It is a fairly hardy tree, frost resistant and able to grow in coastal areas. With its bold display of orange fruit and evergreen nature, the tree will do well in any garden while bringing birdlife to the area.