Nuxia floribunda

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Botanical Name
Nuxia floribunda
Buddlejaceae - The buddleja family.
NUKS-ee-uh flor-ih-BUN-duh
Common Name(s)
English: Forest Elder
Afrikaans: Bosvlier
IsiXhosa: iNgqota; isiKhali
IsiZulu: ingobese; isanywana; umKhobeza
Sesotho sa Leboa: motlhabare
Tshivenda: mpupumwa; Mula-notshi
Plant Group
  • Tree A woody, self-supporting perennial plant usually with a single main stem and generally growing more than 6 meters tall.
Plant Size
  • Large
    Tree18m to 25m
    Shrub3m to 4m
    Perennial/ground cover75cm to 1m
    Bulb80cm to 1.2m
    Succulent1m to 1.5m
  • Small
    Tree4m to 8m
    Shrub50cm to 75cm
    Perennial/ground cover10cm to 20cm
    Bulb20cm to 30cm
    Succulent10cm to 20cm
  • Canopy Shade Canopy shade is found below closely grown trees where some light filters through. Ideal for the protection of herbaceous plants.
  • Light or Dappled Shade Found below trees with sparse, open foliage. Ideal for the protection of herbaceous plants.
  • Partial Shade The area is in shade for part of the day and in full sun for part of the day.
  • Sun The area is in full sun for all or most of the day, all year round.
General Information
  • Drought Tolerance: Moderate The plant is moderately adapted to arid conditions and can survive short periods of drought and high temperatures without extra water.
  • Evergreen Plants that have leaves all year round.
  • Fragrant / Aromatic These plants posses a strong, usually pleasant odour.
  • Frost: Tender A plant that will not survive any frost or low winter temperatures.
  • Roots Non-invasive Safe to plant near pools, paving, walls or buildings.
  • Water Loving Plants need a regular supply of water and must not be allowed to dry out for any length of time.
Specific Information

This visually appealing specimen has a shapely crown and copious, sweetly scented flowers. Although it can reach up to 25 m in the moist environment of a sub-tropical forest, it is more usually a small tree of 3 - 10 m. The leaves of this tree hang gracefully and tremble in the slightest breeze. A good garden species with a non-invasive root system but they need plenty of water and cannot tolerate frost.

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tiny flowers in large branched clusters

  • Autumn to Spring Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
  • cream
Growth Rate
  • Moderate to Fast Specifying growth rate can be very misleading as there is considerable variation of growth rate depending on type and species of plant, available water, supplementary feeding, mulching and general care, as well as the plants suitability and adaptability to the garden environment.
Plant Uses
  • Accent or Focal Point A plant used to attract the attention because of its colour or form.
  • Attracts bees, butterflies or other insects This plant attracts insects which can be food for birds or other creatures in your garden.
  • Attracts Birds This plant will attract birds.
  • Boundary A plant useful for planting around the edges of the property to form a green or colourful backdrop, an impenetrable hedge, to hide walls or create privacy.
  • Provides light / dappled shade A tree with an open to sparse canopy, through which varying degrees of sunlight can penetrate.
  • Suitable for coastal gardens Plants adapted to dry, sandy soil, forceful wind, limited rainfall and intense sunlight.
  • Suitable for smaller gardens Such plants do not have invasive root systems, remain small or controllable and can often be grown in containers.
  • Wild Garden An indigenous garden planted for the benefit of wildlife and birds. Provides food, water, a variety of mini-biomes and no poisonous chemicals are used.
Distribution and Habitat

from the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, north to Malawi and Zambia, growing along riverbanks

Planting Suggestions

Mulch well and water regularly throughout the year for optimum growth. The forest elder can be planted near paving, walls and buildings. This is a forest species and will need a regular supply of water for it to grow and flower to its full potential.

The old method of digging a deep hole and filling it with soil and compost has resulted in many trees failing to thrive, dying, rotting at the base or worse still, falling over in later years due to poor root development.  Refer to the following sites for the best method of planting trees: Planting a tree

International Society of Arboriculture: New Tree Planting

Tree People: Plant the right way

For those of you who have a clay problem try:

Rod's Garden: Planting in clay soil

Medicinal Uses

The bark is used by the Zulu as a strengthening medicine after a kraal (village) member has passed away, while in other parts of Africa the leaves are recorded being used to treat coughs, colds, influenza, fevers, indigestion, infantile convulsions as well as in rituals.

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