German wasp | Vespula germanica

German wasp

Vespula germanica

Coral bush | Ardisia crenata

Coral bush

Ardisia crenata

Purple loosestrife | Lythrum salicaria

Purple loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria

Pom pom weed | Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Pom pom weed

Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Canarybird bush | Crotalaria agatiflora

Canarybird bush

Crotalaria agatiflora

Peanut butter cassia | Senna didymobotrya

Peanut butter cassia

Senna didymobotrya

Rubber vine | Cryptostegia grandiflora

Rubber vine

Cryptostegia grandiflora

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Environmental Programmes

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African tulip tree

Spathodea campanulata

Common name:

African tulip tree

Scientific name:

Spathodea campanulata

Alternative common names:

Afrikaanse vlamboom (Afrikaans), African flame tree.

The African tulip tree is an evergreen species indigenous to western Africa. It has been introduced throughout the tropics and is threatening biodiversity in many parts of the Pacific islands. It favours moist habitats and will grow best in sheltered tropical areas. The tree invades both abandoned agricultural land and closed forest. This species loves rich soil, but puts up with just about any type of soil.

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    West Africa.

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    NEMBA Category 3 in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and Limpopo.

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.

    How does it spread?

    Spreads via wind-dispersed seeds and from root suckers and cuttings.

    Why is it a problem?

    The African tulip tree invades agricultural areas, forest plantations and natural ecosystems, smothering other trees and crops as it grows and becoming the prevailing tree in these areas.

    What does it look like?

    Evergreen or semi-evergreen tree growing 12–18m high, with branches marked with small white lenticels (raised pores). Leaves: Pinnate leaves are dark green and glossy above and paler beneath, 450mm long. When young they are a golden bronze. Flowers: The cup-shaped flowers are orange-red to scarlet, 100mm x 70mm in size with a spathe-like calyx. The buds are velvety brown, appearing in late summer. Fruit/seeds: The capsule is brown, 15–25mm long, splitting open to release many papery, winged seeds.

    Does the plant have any uses?

    Widely introduced throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world as an ornamental and street tree.

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General News Updates

2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasio…

26-02-2019

This is your invitation to South Africa's 2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasions. The convention is hosted by the Centre for Invasion Biology (CIB), University of Stellenbosch, and the Biolo... Read more

2019 Invasive Species Training

22-01-2019

During the past five years (2014-2018), ISSA invasive species trainers have trained 4 000 in the identification of invasive species and laws pertaining to invasive species across South Africa.  ... Read more

Alien Grass Working Group

04-09-2018

Who are we? The South African National Alien Grass Working Group was jointly initiated by the South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Centre for Excellence in Invasion Biology (C·I·B) in... Read more

Permits for planting indigenous Cynodon?

01-03-2018

On 16 February, 2018, South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs issued amendments to the regulations and lists relating to the National List of Invasive Species.  Updates to the draft&n... Read more

Invasive species training 2018 dates released

28-02-2018

Interested in invasive species?  How much do you know about NEMBA invasive species compliance for landowners and organs of state? The South African Green Industries Council (SAGIC) have released... Read more

Communications post for Africa advertised

25-01-2018

The Nature Conservancy has advertised a brand new post:  Communications Manager, Africa Region. Knowledge of invasive species and water would be an asset in this post. See details below:    Job Titl... Read more