This young Philenoptera violacea tree shows pale stems and large rounded terminal leaflets in a dense crown (SA Tree List No. 238). Its name used to be Lonchocarpus capassa. Three of the twelve Philenoptera species occur in South Africa. They form part of the Fabaceae family and have pea-like flowers and fruit pods that don’t split when ripe. The seeds are kidney-shaped, brown in colour.
This one was seen growing in Lowveld grass not far from the Sabie River. In maturity such a tree may reach 15 m in height. The habitat is medium to low elevation woodland, often close to rivers and on floodplains where it grows in sandy soil (Coates Palgrave, 2002; www.plantzafrica.com).