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:: Calodendrum capensis ::
Cape Chestnut



   The Cape Chestnut , a member of the same family as citrus, the Rutaceae, is native to South Africa . Calodendrum is a genus comprised of only one species. The Cape Chestnut is an extremely showy flowering tree that is briefly deciduous or evergreen, slow growing, and only partially frost hardy. It is widely cultivated as a street and park tree in the southern hemisphere and warmer parts of the U.S.

   Calodendrum capensis is a shapely tree that grows to heights of 50 feet, developing a wide, dome-shaped crown. The glossy, oval leaves are dotted with translucent oil glands. In the late spring or early summer the tree becomes laden with large, light pink flowers standing out from the ends of each branch on a terminal panicle. The nut-like intensely bitter seeds of this tree are a source oil for soap, and the timber is also used in woodworking (Mabberley). There are only two specimens of this species on campus. The name of this tree comes from the Greek words kalos , meaning beautiful, and dendron , meaning tree. Capensis is derived from the fact that the tree originates near the Cape of Good Hope , South Africa.

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Cal Poly Plant Conservatory
Biological Sciences Department
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, Ca 93407
805.756.2775
mritter@calpoly.edu