Alberta magna, the Natal flame bush or magnificent flame, in Afrikaans breekhout (break wood), is a medium sized tree of forest margins in the eastern parts of South Africa, mainly KwaZulu-Natal, but also to the south into the Eastern Cape (SA Tree List No. 701). The wood is brittle and not much used, hence the breekhout name.
The tree may grow to 13 m in height, often seen at the upper ends of rocky kloofs and near river banks. The bark is pale grey and smooth, still green on young branches, rough on old trunks. The tree, popular for its spectacular flowers, may be grown near the coast in places where harsh winters and drought are not threats. The bark is known to have been used medicinally.
Most members of the Alberta genus are found on Madagascar, just this one is South African (Van Wyk and Van Wyk, 1997; Coates Palgrave, 2002; Rhino Club Newsletter).
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