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Products > Cussonia arenicola
 
Cussonia arenicola - Sand Cabbagetree
   

 
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Araliaceae (Ginsengs)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Green
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Height: 3-5 feet
Width: 3-4 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Seaside: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Cussonia arenicola (Sand Cabbagetree) A small to medium sized shrub growing to 3 to 5 feet tall with a single trunk or two rising from thick basal root or rhizome, a typical feature of plants often called caudiciforms that are sought out by succulent collectors. From these stems arise an annual flush of dark green digitately compound leaves (similar to palmately compound) but with varying length leaflets and wings - so unique are the leaves of such Cussonia that the term vertebrate has been used to describe the leaves of this species and those ofCussonia spicata. The 4 to 7 or more 6 inch long leaflets are held on petioles up to 10 inches long with older leaves dropping off, leaving only those leaves at the stem tips. Leaves are often not produced in years when flowering occurs with the many dense spike like racemes produced at the stem tips of reddish buds that open as greenish flowers and are followed by small round fruit. Plant in full coastal sun to light shade in a well-drained soil and water occasionally in warmner months. Hardy to around 28F with some overhead protection but dislikes wet cold conditions so some winter protection from moisture would keep it happier. This unique plant comes from coastal sand dunes and on sandy soils in open low lying woodlands inland in northern Natal and southern Mozambique. The genus was named by Carl Peter Thunberg (1743-1828), the Swedish naturalist often called "the father of South African botany" to honor Pierre (anglicized as Peter) Cusson (1727-1783), a French botanist who specialized in the Apiaceae. The specific epithet is the combination of the Latin words 'areni' (or 'arena' meaning "sand" and 'cola' meaning "an inhabitant" in reference to this plant coming from sandy soils and dunes. We first got this plant from Stockton succulent collector Alice Waidhofer in 2005.  This description is based on our research and observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We will also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information about this plant, in particular if this information is contrary to what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Cussonia arenicola.