Cussonia paniculata

Botanical name

Cussonia paniculata (SA No 563)

Other names

Cabbage tree, parasol tree, bergkiepersol (Afrikaans)




Small, attractive tree, usually 3 to 4 m

Description of stem

Dark brown to blackish grey; fissured, often many-branched and with a thick trunk, sometimes an imposing appearance

Description of leaves

About 9 blue-grey leaflets radiating digitately in fanlike fashion from the end of the straight petiole of more than 20 cm; in colder areas may be semi-deciduous; the margin is variably lobed in a semi-symmetric manner

Description of flowers

Panicles of small green flower spikes, appearing in mid-summer

Description of seed/fruit

Small fleshy, yellow-green berries turning purple, densely stacked on the spike stalks

Description of roots

Comparatively large root system, appearing swollen


Leaf, stem and growth form variations across the large distribution area

Propagation and cultivation

Grown from seed; transplantation easily when small; bigger trees require care with the huge root system that tends to rot upon transplanting when much injury occurred in digging it out; drainage is important


Deciduous in colder winter conditions


Common and very popular garden tree; the wood is said to have been used for brake-blocks on waggons; browsed by livestock

Ecological rarity


Pests and diseases





Hills and rocky slopes in summer rainfall areas


Eastern Cape; Free State; Kwazulu-Natal; Gauteng; Mpumalanga; North West; Limpopo


South Africa; Botswana; Lesotho