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Useful Temperate Plants

Virgilia oroboides

(P.J.Bergius) T.M.Salter

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Sophora capensis L.

Sophora oroboides P.J.Bergius

Virgilia capensis (L.) Poir.

Podalyria capensis (L.) Willd.

Hypocalyptus capensis (L.) Thunb.

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Virgilia oroboides is a small, evergreen tree with a sparse crown that is usually narrow but can be spreading, especially with age; it usually grows from 5 - 15 metres tall, occasionally reaching 20 metres. The main stem can be single or branched, in larger trees it can be clear of branches for 5 - 8 metres, and is usually around 50cm in diameter but ranging from 20 - 90cm[
1621
Title
A revision of the genus Virgilia (Fabaceae)
Publication
S. Afr. J. Bot. 1986, 52: 347-353
Author
B.-E. van Wyk
Publisher
 
Year
1986
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
The tree is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a source of wood and starch. It makes an excellent pioneer species for reforestation and establishing woodland gardens, and is often grown as an ornamental, valued especially for its floral display and attractive form[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
1621
Title
A revision of the genus Virgilia (Fabaceae)
Publication
S. Afr. J. Bot. 1986, 52: 347-353
Author
B.-E. van Wyk
Publisher
 
Year
1986
ISBN
 
Description
 

Range

Southern Africa - S. Africa (southern Cape Province)

Habitat

Moist sites near the coast[
1621
Title
A revision of the genus Virgilia (Fabaceae)
Publication
S. Afr. J. Bot. 1986, 52: 347-353
Author
B.-E. van Wyk
Publisher
 
Year
1986
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. Forest margins, most often beside streams or on river banks but also on hillsides and thickets; at elevations up to 1,200 metres[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].

Properties

Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height10.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsBees, Sunbirds, Insects
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Virgilia oroboides is not very cold-hardy. Native to the warm mediterranean climate of southern S. Africa it can only tolerate short periods of moderate frost, and young plants will be severely damaged or killed even by light frosts[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
Requires a position in full sun to semi-shade, growing best in a light, well-drained soil[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
]. Found in the wild on acidic sandstone and clay soils[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
A fast-growing tree, especially when young. Trees can be 130cm tall within 12 months and attain full height in only a few years[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
]. The trees are also short-lived, however, their average lifespan ranging from 12 - 20 years[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
The tree has a shallow, spreading root system, which does not provide good anchorage[
1309
Title
The Leguminosae; A Source Book of Characteristics, Uses and Nodulation
Publication
 
Author
Allen O.N.; Allen E.K.
Publisher
University of Wisconsin
Year
1981
ISBN
0-333-32221-5
Description
An amazing and comprehensive work, giving a brief guide to the many genera of the family Fabaceae and also the principle uses of the genus.
].
The flowers are sweetly scented[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
1309
Title
The Leguminosae; A Source Book of Characteristics, Uses and Nodulation
Publication
 
Author
Allen O.N.; Allen E.K.
Publisher
University of Wisconsin
Year
1981
ISBN
0-333-32221-5
Description
An amazing and comprehensive work, giving a brief guide to the many genera of the family Fabaceae and also the principle uses of the genus.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

A fast-growing tree that enriches the soil with nitrogen, it is a natural pioneer species within its native range where it quickly provides the shade and shelter that other trees need in order to become established and then dies off as these other trees mature. It can be used in reforesting native areas, or for establishing a woodland garden[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
,
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
The flowers are a rich source of nectar[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].

Other Uses

A transparent gum exudes from the bark[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
,
1309
Title
The Leguminosae; A Source Book of Characteristics, Uses and Nodulation
Publication
 
Author
Allen O.N.; Allen E.K.
Publisher
University of Wisconsin
Year
1981
ISBN
0-333-32221-5
Description
An amazing and comprehensive work, giving a brief guide to the many genera of the family Fabaceae and also the principle uses of the genus.
]. It has been used as a substitute for starch[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
,
1309
Title
The Leguminosae; A Source Book of Characteristics, Uses and Nodulation
Publication
 
Author
Allen O.N.; Allen E.K.
Publisher
University of Wisconsin
Year
1981
ISBN
0-333-32221-5
Description
An amazing and comprehensive work, giving a brief guide to the many genera of the family Fabaceae and also the principle uses of the genus.
]. The report is not clear as to whether the starch is used as a stiffener (the more likely scenario), or as a carbohydrate for food[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

The wood is soft and light in weight. It was formerly much in demand for yokes and was also used for spars, wagon-bed planks and rafters. It is sometimes used for furniture[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
,
1309
Title
The Leguminosae; A Source Book of Characteristics, Uses and Nodulation
Publication
 
Author
Allen O.N.; Allen E.K.
Publisher
University of Wisconsin
Year
1981
ISBN
0-333-32221-5
Description
An amazing and comprehensive work, giving a brief guide to the many genera of the family Fabaceae and also the principle uses of the genus.
].
The wood is used for fuel[
1309
Title
The Leguminosae; A Source Book of Characteristics, Uses and Nodulation
Publication
 
Author
Allen O.N.; Allen E.K.
Publisher
University of Wisconsin
Year
1981
ISBN
0-333-32221-5
Description
An amazing and comprehensive work, giving a brief guide to the many genera of the family Fabaceae and also the principle uses of the genus.
].

Propagation

Seed - it has a hard seedcoat and benefits from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing. Sow the seed in trays in a greenhouse in autumn or spring, in well-drained soil at a depth of 0.5 - 1 cm and covered with the sowing medium or milled bark and then watered. Pot up as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant out when large enough (which is usually within a few weeks)[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
]
Stratified seed can also be sown in situ in warm climates[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
The seeds are highly fertile and can remain alive in the soil for many years after they have fallen, even after as many as 30 years they will germinate if conditions are favourable[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2020-10-21. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Virgilia+oroboides>

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