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Combretum molle

Velvet Bushwillow

Leaves used for red fabric dye and roots for yellow fabric dye, medicinal.
SA Tree No: 
537
Plant Type: 
General Size: 
Flowering time: 
Flowering Colour: 
Shrub Size: 
Medium
Long Description: 
Velvet bush willow is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree that grows to 13 meters with a rounded crown. It has grey bark when young and this becomes grey-brown or almost black when older. Young leaves are attractive with a light pink or orange colour. Its flowering time is Sept.–Nov. The flowers are in dense axillary spikes with a greenish yellow colour, strongly scented and attractive to bees and other insects. The fruit is light green with reddish shade which turns red-brown when dry. It is used as a traditional medicine by most African people. A boiled root decoction is used to treat constipation, headaches, stomach aches, fever, dysentery and swellings, and as an anthelmintic for hookworm. The leaves are chewed, soaked in water and the juice drunk for chest complaints. It can also be used as an inhalant in a hot steam bath. It is termite-proof and can be used to make fence posts, implement handles and bowls for grinding peanuts and mealies. Red fabric dyes are made from the leaves, whereas dyes made from the roots are yellow-brown. A very useful tree.
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