Brabejum stellatifolium - WikiVisually

Brabejum is a monotypic genus of tree belonging to the family of proteáceas. Its only species: Brabejum stellatifolium , is an endemism of South Africa.


It is a leaf tree perennial. It grows up to about 15 meters high, but has large outstretched branches and an expanding habit. The bark is smooth gray-brown speckled and attractive. The green, coriaceous leaves are serrated and lanceolate, appear in rosettes of six, at intervals along the stems, and they radiate out of the branch like a star. The young leaves are soft, velvety and golden. The small flowers are white and perfumed, appear in summer, in dense clusters.

Fruits look similar to walnuts or almonds and grow in clusters at the ends of branches. The young fruits are attractive magenta or lilac-purple and ripe with the typical brown color later in the summer. The fruits are short-lived, germinate rapidly and often disperse in rivers.


The natural range of these trees is limited to Cape fynbos , South Africa. Here you are in a local habitat of the mountainous afro-forests. They prefer moist areas, and they usually occur near streams in protected valleys and on the slopes of the lower mountains. In Cape Town they are still abundant on the eastern slope of Table Mountain, although large quantities were felled from this area to give way to pine plantations. However, despite its limited reach, this species is not threatened.

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This is a relatively fast growing tree and is not suitable for small garden. It has a tendency to spread sideways and can be used to form an impenetrable cover. Although pruned, it can form a tree in good shape. Wherever the lateral branches are cut, more branches will grow from below the cut, so that it forms easily on a good screen. The oldest trees form a forest of giant entangled branches and expanding branches.

Brabejum propagates best by seed. Nuts can simply be pushed to the ground as they are, and germinate as soon as they are in the wet soil. However, the seeds do not survive very long if they can not germinate or if they dry. Make sure the seedlings get enough water in their early years, preferably by planting them in a damp or gloomy place, like a river bank.

  • Adam Floyd