Camera : Kodak EasyShare C195 : Location – Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa.
Common names: Pondo Waterwood, Pondowaterhout (A) Umdoni wehlathi (Z)
Syzygium pondoense is a genus of flowering plants that belongs to the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. The genus comprises about 1100 species, and has a native range that extends from Africa and Madagascar through southern Asia east through the Pacific. At times Syzygium was confused taxonomically with the genus Eugenia (ca. 1000 species), but the latter genus has its highest specific diversity in the neotropics.
I planted mine specifically because Grey Louries are purported to be fond of the fruit. Just a kilometer away from us there are Louries in abundance and yet they don’t visit my garden at all. It doesn’t seem to have helped, my Syzygium is 7 years old already and nary a Grey Lourie! But I do enjoy this tree’s shiny foliage and those lovely berries.
S. pondoense is a very rare shrub or a small tree that grows up to 3m high. It is often found in rocky beds of streams. It is endemic to the Northern Eastern Cape, but extends to southern KwaZulu-Natal and is threatened by habitat loss. Mine frosts down every winter and every spring I anxiously await the new greenery, relieved when at last it makes its appearance.
The genus Syzygium has many medicinal properties. Eugeniin extracted from the buds of almost all species of this genus has antiviral activity against the Herpes simplex virus. Bark infusions of this plant are said to ease pain and coughing.
The Pondo waterwood can be used in many ways. It is a good garden subject, especially in the rockery or wild fruit garden, because it attracts many bird species. Plant it in a sunny spot in the garden, but water well. With its reddish side veins and its colorful new leaves, it is a lovely ornamental plant. It is also an attractive container plant with its deep green, glossy foliage. Its weeping form placed in entrances makes a good focal point.
S. pondoense grows easily from seeds. Once the fruits are ready then the seeds should be collected quickly before birds come and enjoy themselves! Sow the seeds in a fine soil mix, cover them to ensure that they don’t dry out. Make sure that you keep the media moist, but not wet, to induce germination. The correct time to sow seeds is autumn just after you have collected them. Fresh seeds have a high success rate. Rooting the cuttings of this plant is also very easy. Cuttings can be taken in autumn and rooted in pure river sand.
The flowers are white with a mass of stamens appearing in showy branched terminal heads. The flowering time is early summer. In early autumn, red to purple roundish fruits are produced. They are about 15 mm in diameter and are tipped with a persistent calyx.