December 13
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Plant Species of the genus Brabejum

Information about this genus
Name: Brabejum
Cultivation: CULTIVATION: Early European settlers at the Cape planted dense hedges of wild almond to protect their livestock, but the tree has otherwise not often been cultivated. It is easily enough grown in any sheltered position, preferring moist but well-drained soil. Growth is initially quite fast. Propagate from fresh seed or from cuttings.
Description: A genus of a single species of evergreen tree, Brabejum is restricted in the wild to South Africa?s Western Cape Province, where it grows in thickets along banks of streams. Belonging to the protea family (Proteaceae), it is of botanical interest as being Africa?s only member of the large grevilleoid subfamily. The majority of the grevilleoids are found in Australia with a few members in South America, the Pacific islands, East Asia and Madagascar. All the rest of Africa?s showy proteas belong to the proteoid subfamily. Brabejum belongs to the macadamia tribe of grevilleoids and shares with Macadamia a large nut-like seed in a leathery-skinned fruit. Like most other members of this tribe it has leaves in whorls at intervals along the branches, in this case mostly whorls of 6, and bears white flowers densely crowded on spikes arising from the leaf axils. Close examination of the flowers, which are attached in pairs, shows a structure very like a Grevillea flower. The fruits are similar in shape and size to an almond and likewise have an outer husk covered in dense woolly hairs, though Brabejum is in no way related to the almond. The nut is too bitter to eat, but in earlier times was boiled, roasted and ground to make a coffee-like beverage.

Specie Vernacular Zone
Brabejum stellatifolium 8-10

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