Bushveld Gardenia

Gardenia volkensii

The Bushveld Gardenia is a small to medium-sized shrub or tree growing to a height of up to 10m and with its spreading branches often reaching down to the ground. The large, white flowers (older flowers turn yellow) have a sweet aroma and are carried from July to December. They open at night and are probably pollinated by moths. The leaves of the Bushveld Gardenia are browsed by a wide range of animals, including giraffes and kudus. The hard fruit ripen between December and April and are favoured by primates, antelope and elephants.

In traditional medicine the Bushveld Gardenia is used to treat intestinal parasites, while the hard wood is used for carving ornaments and utensils.

The Bushveld Gardenia grows in savanna and open woodland and in South Africa occurs through much of Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng and North West Province.

18 thoughts on “Bushveld Gardenia

  1. naturebackin

    Like Anne I am more familiar with the G. thunbergia. The flowers last several days. We have a lovely specimen in our garden. Like the G. volkensii it also has very hard tough fruits but they are less ‘fluted’ in appearance – more like large oval eggs.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      I imagine your gardenia tree is a focal point in the garden, Carol, especially when it is sporting such beautiful flowers? I would love to see just how an antelope or primate manages to open the hard fruit.

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      1. naturebackin

        The plant is near the house and when it flowers the scent can be pretty overpowering. Yes it would be interesting to see animals eating the fruits. SANBI has an interesting entry on G. thunbergia saying the fruits don’t split or drop on their own but depend on large antelopes, buffalo and elephants (or botanists armed with hammers) to disperse the seeds!

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  2. Anne

    This is fascinating for me as I am only familiar with the Gardenia thunbergia or witkatjiepiering that grows in this region. One might be fooled by the similar looking flowers, yet I note a distinct difference between their fruit.

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