Old leaves of the apple-leaf or rain-tree become rigid and coarse before they drop for the new, spring leaves to grow, as seen in this winter photo. While old leaves are largely hairless, fresh ones are velvety with soft hairs in spring. The pinnate leaf structure has one to three pairs of oblong to ovate leaflets that are smaller than the terminal one.
Creamy translucence of the midrib, lateral veins and net-veining is visible against the sunlight in the photo. The leaf rachis is velvety, appearing whitish grey or pale green here. Leaflet midribs are prominent on lower leaf surfaces.
The rain-tree name is derived from spit bugs or Ptyelus grossus nymphs that suck the sap of the tree through the bark. They cover themselves in foam that serves as sun-shield and causes "rain": much watery liquid dripping from the tree.
There are several bushveld tree species that provide food from their stems for such insects and thus qualify as rain trees (Coates Palgrave, 2002; www.plantzafrica.com).