Magnificent Trees of the Year 2019: Marula and Apple-leaf

The rustling sound of leaves blowing in the wind and birds singing from branches are a gentle reminder of the magnificence of trees. Trees provide shade, shelter and food for several creatures while purifying the air around us.


This spring you can help to improve our environment and add value to your property by planting a tree. Two trees to consider are the Marula (Sclerocarya birrea) and the Apple-leaf (Philenoptera violacea) which have been named the common and uncommon trees of the year respectively.

The Marula Maroela, also known as the Marula tree, is a medium-sized to large tree that has a rich history in South Africa and is known for its nutritional benefits and tasty fruits.

  • These trees grow well from seed in sandy to sandy loam soil
  • Place the tree in a sunny spot and keep the soil moist
  • These trees grow on average 1.5m per year
  • These trees are frost-sensitive and should be planted in a protected spot.

The Apple-leaf, or Appelblaar in Afrikaans, is a medium-sized to large tree that produces a beautiful show of sweetly-scented flowers in colours ranging from white and pink to bluish-pink, mauve or deep violet from September to December.

  • These trees grow well in warm regions
  • They thrive in sandy or loam soil
  • Soil should be kept moist but the tree does tolerate droughts well
  • These trees are not frost-resistant and will need to be protected against frost in colder climates.

For more information about caring for these trees, visit your nearest GCA Garden Centre.