Silver Cluster-leaf

Terminalia sericea

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.

21 thoughts on “Silver Cluster-leaf

  1. wetanddustyroads

    En dit het jou wraggies waar ‘n silwer kleurtjie! Dit is ‘n mooi boom en ek’s altyd verstom om te lees watter medisinale waarde daar in ons natuur voorkom … ek glo die groot ‘Pharma’ maatskappye hou nie daarvan nie 🤔.

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  2. naturebackin

    One of the things I most love to see when travelling north are the silver terminalia trees. On our November trip to Kruger last year, we saw them in flower, which was an added bonus. I enjoyed your photos of this special and distinctive tree.

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  3. neihtn2012

    Some years ago there was a report that some big pharma company sent their people into the Brazilian jungle looking for medicinal plants. The results: they did not find anything worthwhile…

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          1. scrapydo2.wordpress.com

            ‘n Vriend van my het spesiale ondersoeke gedoen om mutie versamelaars(eintlik plant smokkelaars) vas te trek. Hy het gereeld sekere plekke nagegaan waar die beskermde plante gegroei het. Baie interessante en baie geslote man. Hy was by spesiale polisie eenheid. Dis gevaarlike werk met die smokkelaars saam. Dis hulle wat die gewone arm mense gebruik om dit te oes.

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