The four-winged fruits of the russet willow (or mouse-eared combretum as Combretum hereroense is also known) grow on the typical sparse, short shoots. The brown fruit colour contrasts against the promising rain clouds over this Mjejane tree. These trees are deciduous or semi-deciduous, depending on the region or growing conditions.
Apart from the leaves that are often browsed, the gum that oozes from stem wounds is eagerly eaten by bushbabies. Indigenous people, particularly in parts of Zimbabwe make tea from the papery and usually woolly fruits.
The seed in the central, darker part of the fruit is, however, believed to be poisonous (Van Wyk and Van Wyk, 1997).