Notices for Users of the Albums

1. New Albums and some changes


The latest genera Albums added to the Operation Wildflower Site are the ones on Paranomus, Hoodia and Hesperantha. This means that photos and stories of plants belonging to these genera already on the Site have been moved from the more general Albums called Shrubs, Succulents and Bulbs into their own new Albums under Genera. 


There is a genus Album in every case where enough material has been accumulated to warrant a stand-alone grouping of photos and stories. There are now more than 160 such Albums on genera of South African plants. The biggest ones (most photos) belong to the genera Crassula, Euphorbia, Pelargonium and Aloe. Keep watching, more will be added! If there is no genus Album yet on the plant you are looking for, check under Types or the Search Box.


In order to access all items on a plant of interest, the Search Box should be used, entering the botanical name of the plant. Most photos and stories on a particular plant are likely to be posted under Genera, (or if there are only few of them, in the conglomerate categories under Types). Habitat, Regions or Parks and Gardens may also contain some material on a species searched for, showing in the list generated when using the Search Box. The latest Regions Album is the one on the Langkloof. A new Parks and Gardens Album for the Caledon Wildflower Garden has also been created from existing material.


2. Want to talk about an Album Item?


There is a new way of communicating with the Editor of this Site regarding any of the Album Items.
Comments, questions, corrections, information and suggestions can be put to the Editor by using the following email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Please ensure that the Album Item concerned is clearly identified. Type its exact title as well as the Album Name in the Subject Line of your email. Please also state your name.


Similarly, communication regarding the functioning or technical aspects of the Site can be directed to the Webmaster at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




Combretum erythrophyllum

Botanical name

Combretum erythrophyllum (SA No 536)

Other names

River bushwillow; vaderlandswilg (Afrikaans); C. glomeruliflorum




Spreading medium sized, sometimes large deciduous tree of up to 13 m in height; often multistemmed, some may recline at an angle

Description of stem

Light-brown or grey, smooth or mottled; flaking in patches; irregular markings where twigs have disappeared and unevenness in the surface becomes accentuated in older specimens

Description of leaves

Simple, opposite with entire margin; elliptic with tapering base and apex; usually on short lateral twigs; soft, light green and tend to be hairy when young, later leathery and dull green, smooth on top and velvety below; short hairy petiole; bigger and rounder on young trees; in autumn the leaves turn coppery or reddish, creating a strikingly attractive effect

Description of flowers

Creamy yellow axillary spikes, about 2 cm in length and 1 cm in diameter appear in  spring shortly after the young leaves sprout

Desciption of seed/fruit

Four-winged, yellow-brown papery seeds in clusters at the ends of branches remain on the tree through the winter; young fruits are light green and sticky

Description of roots




Propagation and cultivation

Grown from seed or truncheons; seeds germinate easily; the young trees are fast growing


Drought resistant


Wood as timber; popular for planting in (bigger) gardens, parks and on street pavements; the gum is used as a varnish; the poisonous roots still used medicinally as a purgative and for treating venereal disease; the dry seeds are used in flower arrangements

Ecological rarity


Pests and diseases

Insects eat into the young twigs in autumn, causing them to die and fall off


Erythrophyllum = red leaves; species similar to C. caffrum


Riverine forest, at the edge of open water; when away from water, often thrives where ground water is amply available

Distribution (SA provinces)

Northern Cape; North West; KZN; Mpumalanga; Gauteng; Limpopo


South Africa; Swaziland; Mozambique; Zimbabwe; Zambia



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