Rapanea melanophloeos is a large, handsome evergreen with a dense, spreading crown. The bark is smooth and grey white, becoming darker and more fissured with age. The tree is frost hardy with low watering needs and can grow to a height of 6 – 18 m with a spread of 3 – 6 m.
The Cape Beech is easily recognised by its leathery, dark green leaves, tinged with purple red. The hairless leaves are dull green on top with a paler green underneath and the young leaves often appear bright pinkish red with a purplish leaf stalk. Small, greenish white flowers are borne from late summer to autumn, followed by green berries that turn purple when ripe. Birds, bees and small mammals find the flower and berries irresistible and the many branched crown provides excellent nesting sites for birds.
The Cape Beech is cultivated as an elegant, decorative tree in a large garden and is useful as a windbreak or screening tree where privacy is needed. This beautiful indigenous tree will add another dimension to your garden.