The Russet Bush Willow

HaileyBunge

Species: Combretum heroense
Afrikaans: Kierieklapper
Shangaan/Tsonga: Xikhavi

The Russet Bush Willow is one of the most commonly found trees on Kapama and in the Lowveld.

Bush willow’s/Combretum spp. all have four-winged pods. The Russet Bush Willow’s pods are brilliant russet-red in summer, changing to a light, coppery-brown later in the season. Their pods remain on the tree for long periods – often until July.

This tree is utilized by various animals in particular Kudu, giraffe, elephant, steenbok, impala and Nyala.

Humans also use parts of the tree:

  • Pods can be brewed in water to make a pleasant tea.
  • Straight branches are used to make “kieries” (walking sticks)
  • The wood is very hard and is used a support beams in mines. It can also be used for pick and hoe handles.
  • Russet Bush Willow wood is termite and woodborer proof and can be used for fence posts and furniture.
  • An infusion of the roots can be used to treat stomach problems.
  • The bark is used for heartburn and heart diseases.

Hailey Bunge (Kapama River Lodge Ranger)

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