Kirkia wilmsii, the bergsering (mountain syringa) in Afrikaans, is a medium sized deciduous tree that grows to about 8 m (SA Tree List No. 269).
Another Afrikaans name, wildepeperboom (wild pepper tree), indicates how an exotic, Schinus molle, the Peruvian pepper tree with similar leaves but different looking fruit, can be better known than an indigenous tree with smaller and somewhat remote distribution. Like some Eucalyptus trees from Australia, the peperboom is a familiar sight in many parts of the country, mostly planted long ago.
The bergsering produces some of the breath-taking autumn spectacles of the bushveld region when a good stand with rounded canopies display their range of fall colours among the green of other trees.
The spring flowers of this Kirkia are small and greenish white. The roots are thickened with stored water that serves the tree during drought periods (Coates Palgrave, 2002).