The Silver Cluster-leaf is a medium sized deciduous tree, usually not higher than 9m but occasionally growing up to 23m, that grows on sandy soils in open woodland habitats. Silver Cluster-leafs will colonize open areas, forming dense thickets. Even in mature mixed woodland it can be a dominant tree. The blue-green leaves from which it takes its name is densely covered in shiny hairs and are shed in autumn. Flowers are borne from September to January after the new leaves have appeared following the first rains and is probably pollinated by flies (the flowers have a rather unpleasant smell).
In traditional medicine the Silver Cluster-leaf’s roots and leaves are put to good use, being used as an antibiotic, to treat coughs, diarrhoea, stomach ache and to stop bleeding. The wood is used for cooking and fencing. It is an important food source to several kinds of caterpillars, particularly those of the guinea-fowl butterfly, and will be browsed by cattle during drought conditions.
In South Africa Silver-cluster leaf trees grow naturally in the north-east of Kwazulu-Natal, through the Lowveld of Mpumalanga, most of the bushveld regions of Limpopo, northern Gauteng, throughout the North West Province and widely in the Kalahari regions of the Northern Cape. Beyond our borders it is found as far north as Tanzania and the DRC.