April 2014



Sunday, 13th April – PLEASE NOTE DATE – OUTING TO CAROLINA WILDERNESS: Leave Harare on the Beatrice/ Masvingo road, go through the tollgate & across the Manyame River bridge. We will meet at 09.30 as usual.  Bring all that you need for lunch, plus hats, chairs and tables.

Saturday,26th April: No outing



It’s the time once again to pay your annual subscription to the Tree Society.  Please note subs are now $10 per person / per family and should be paid before the AGM if you would like to be included amongst the voters.  Subs can be paid as follows:

  1. Deposit direct to our CABS account number: 1002549477 (preferable). The account name is “W.R. Clarke Tree Society”. If you do make a deposit to CABS, please make sure your name is reflected as a reference, and also advise the Treasurer ( by email of the date of your deposit.
  2. In person to the Treasurer, Bill Clarke at Val D’Or, near Arcturus; or to the Chairman, Mark Hyde (29, Harry Pichanick Drive, Alexandra Park, Harare; tel: Harare 745263; email:; or to any Tree Society Committee member.
  3. Payments can also be accepted at any of our outings.

– Ed


Julbernardia globiflora

Family:  – Fabaceae – Caesalpinoideae –

Common names:  Munondo; Nd: Ishungu, Umtshonkwe; Sh: Munondo;

This tree was named after Jules Bernard, a former governor of Gabon.

The family Caesalpinoideae is a sub-family of the Fabaceae family.

As mentioned many times before, the Fabaceae family is huge and has been subdivided in three sub-families; in Southern Africa alone we count over 30 species in the Caesalpinoideae family. The group is difficult to characterise: the Mimosoideae (Acacia) have mimosa-like flowers, either pom-pom or elongated spikes; the Papilionoideae have characteristic asymmetric sweet-pea shape flowers; and if they are neither think of Caesalpinoideae. When there are no flowers it is generally possible to eliminate Mimosoideae if the leaflets are very small and the leaves bipinnate (apart from Peltophorum africanum which is a member of the Caesalpinoideae). When all else fails, I refer to and become a treetotaller.

Julbernardia globiflora

Julbernardia is a well rounded tree growing to some 18 meters in height. As it is a constituent of the Miombo woodlands it must not be confused with Brachystegia spiciformis. Both have similar paripinnate leaves but Julbernardia generally has more leaflets.  Most important, in B. spiciformis the last pair is always the largest, but never in Julbernardia. Another easy way to tell them apart is the way the pods grow. The Brachystegia pods grow all over the tree, whereas Julbernardia is a botanical Medusa, with all pods protruding outside the crown.

Julbernardia globiflora leaves

The  leaves of Julbernardia are paripinnate with 4 or 6, sometimes 8, pairs of opposite leaflets; rachis velvety; leaflets oblong to oblong-lanceolate,  dark green, both surfaces finely hairy, margin entire and ciliate, apex rounded, sometimes slightly notched; the base is broadly tapering and asymmetric.  The petioles are around 3 cm long and velvety.


Julbernardia globiflora flowers

The flowers are white and borne in January in stout, dark-brown hairy panicles. The pod is a hard woody pod dehiscing explosively in September.

An interesting feature of this tree is its susceptibility to invasion by Berlinianche aethiopica. Berlinianche is a holoparasite,  vegetatively much reduced. The only visible parts are the flowers pushing through the bark.

Berlinianche aethiopica buds on bark of Julbernardia globiflora

The flowers (at least the female flowers, the plant being monoecious) are numerous and showy, clustered, sessile, 2 to 2.5 mm in diameter, hemispherical, bright blood-red turning brown and short lived producing a globose berry.

Berlinianche aethiopica flowers on bark of Julbernardia globiflora

The wood of Julbernardia planes to a highly lustrous finish. Unfortunately it is very prone to  attacks by borers and termites and it’s durability is poor. It is used in furniture making and   also,   in  times   past  and  surprisingly enough, for railway sleepers. Medicinally it is used to treat diarrhoea and conjunctivitis.


Flora of Zimbabwe website:

Plantzafrica website:;

Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques Ville de Geneve:

Coates Palgrave, K. 1977. Trees of Southern Africa . Struik, Cape Town.

Goldsmith, B. and Carter, D.T. 1992. The Indigenous Timbers of Zimbabwe. Forestry Commission, Harare.

Mullin, L.J. 2006. A New Zimbabwean Botanical Checklist of English and African Plant Names.  Tree Society of Zimbabwe, Harare.

Van Wyk, B. and Van Wyk, P. 1997. Field Guide to the Trees of Southern Africa . Struik, Cape Town.

Wild, H. A 1972. Rhodesian Botanical Dictionary of English and Native Plant Names. Govt. Printer, Salisbury.

 –    JP Felu 


My sister Zilla and I arrived at the farm just after 09:00 and were met by Kim McDonald who invited us to wander around his amazing garden.  By 09:45 we began to wonder if anyone else was coming, but just before 10:00 Bilal arrived with Tom Muller and by 10:30 or so we had a total of 11, some of whom had got a bit lost.  A new member, Buks Conradie, came all the way from Mvurwi.

We explored areas of miombo woodland on both sides of the dam. Brachystegia spiciformis & Julbernardia globiflora predominated  but  Tom insisted  that  nobody could go home until we had at least 25 species.  He also informed the ladies that they would be the ones to climb the trees for leaf specimens!  In the end we had a list of 33 plus some unknowns which hopefully by now Tom will have identified. The foliage of one was way out of reach and the tree unclimbable but we managed to obtain a small specimen by hurling the buckle end of a long nylon towrope into the canopy and jerking it down; the leaves were simple and fairly small (4 to 5 cm), fresh green in colour and softly velvety; amongst them were small dried-up inflorescences which could once have been umbels maybe.

The trees identified were typical of sandveld and many were very small.  Mark would have been in his element with all the non-arboreal plants including more than one Vernonia (the cornflower-blue ones, particularly attractive) and a few of those tiny sensitive plants whose name escapes me but which omission I’m sure Mark will rectify. Tom was quite excited about this and took away a complete plant.

Picnic lunch was enjoyed in a pleasant rocky area before we all made our various ways home.

– Dave Hartung

Outing to MacDonald Timbers: footnote

Tom collected various specimens on the outing and these were kindly identified by the National Herbarium staff as follows:  Biophytum umbraculum (formerly B. petersianum). This was a tiny plant (2 cm high) with sensitive leaves.  Grewia decemovulata;  Rhus longipes; Rhus tenuinervis; Rhoicissus tomentosa [This is a surprising one to me. It is primarily an Eastern Districts species, but it does come westwards along the Central Watershed – but I would be surprised if it comes as far as Ruwa – Mark]; Psydrax livida;  Adenia gummifera – climber with succulent stem;  Tinospora caffra – another climber, with a kidney-shaped leaf;  Indigofera arrecta – shrub c. 1 m high;  Clerodendrum eriophyllum (formerly C. glabrum). Unusually large multi-trunked specimens reaching 12-15 metres in height.

– Mark Hyde













































Euclea natalensis fruitSpittle bug, Ptyelus grossus of the Cercopidae family