FloorworX Supports Arbor Week

20 Sep FloorworX Supports Arbor Week

Arbor Week, in early spring, is an occasion when the South African public is reminded of the importance of trees and when we are inspired to plant indigenous trees as a practical and symbolic gesture of sustainable environmental management.

FloorworX have also begun to embrace the benefits of planting and conserving trees, offsetting carbon emissions and greening, while at the same time improving overall quality of life and ultimately changing the environment.

During Arbour Month 2011, our MD, Dr. Donald Platt, planted the Pappea capensis tree at our factory in Wilsonia, East London.

Pappea capensis, family of Sapindaceae (litchi or soap-berry family) is also known among other as the jacket plum, Indaba tree, bushveld cherry (Eng.) or doppruim (Afr.)

The red fruit of this tree is a tasty treat for humans and a firm favourite with birds and animals. A fine oil is extracted from the seeds. The jacket plum is related to the litchi and is a natural addition for the bird or wildlife garden. It is easily cultivated, although slow-growing in colder climates.

The jacket plum is a long-lived, hardy, evergreen, small to medium tree with a height of 2-8 m. Under ideal conditions it can grow at a moderate rate but can be slow-growing under dry and/or cold conditions.

The leaves are simple and oblong, hard-textured and wavy. The leaf margin may vary from sharply toothed (especially in young growth) to almost smooth in mature growth. The greenish flowers are borne on catkins in the axils of the leaves, followed by round green velvety fruits which split open to reveal bright red flesh with a dark brown to black seed imbedded within.

Pappea capensis is widespread in southern Africa from the Northern Cape through the drier Karoo, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, to the northern provinces, as well as Mozambique, Zimbabwe and northwards into eastern and southern tropical Africa. It naturally occurs in bushveld, riverine thicket, wooded grassland and rocky outcrops in grassland as well as scrub veld and is often found on termite mounds. Due to its wide distribution range it is well suited to cultivation in a wide variety of climatic conditions.

Uses and cultural aspects.

The delicious and very juicy fruit with a tart flavour is used to make preserve, jelly, vinegar and an alcoholic drink.

Fragrant non-drying golden yellow oil is extracted from the roasted seeds. There are reports of it being used for oiling rifles. It is also used as a purgative and for lubrication, as a cure for ringworm, to restore hair, as well as for making soap.

Leaves, bark and the oil extracted from the seed are used medicinally against baldness, ringworm, nosebleeds, chest complaints, eye infections, and venereal disease. Bark is also used in protective charms that are sprinkled on the ground. Some research has reported that the leaves are very effective in killing snails. Infusions of the bark are also used by Kenyan Masai warriors to gain courage as well as an aphrodisiac and a blood-strengthening tonic. The root is used orally or as an enema and as a purgative for cattle. The trees flower from September to May (southern hemisphere) and the rather special fruit is produced from December to July. The dense crown is popular with nesting birds as it provides a concealed and sheltered nesting sites.

Seed should be collected from the ripe fruits. Remove the red flesh. Store or sow immediately. Sow seed in trays using a well-drained seedling mixture with some river sand added. The seed should be pressed into the medium and covered with approximately 5 mm of sand or seedling medium. Keep the trays in a warm and lightly shaded position until germination, which may take from six to ten weeks under ideal conditions. The seedlings are best left in their trays until they are approximately 20-50 mm tall before planting out, taking care not to bruise or damage the young taproot.

The jacket plum is a worthy addition to any garden no matter what part of the country you live in.

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