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Products > Schotia afra var. angustifolia
Schotia afra var. angustifolia - Karoo Boerboon

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Schotia afra var. angustifolia
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Caesalpiniaceae (~Fabales)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Flower Color: Red
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [Guaiacum afrum]
Height: 15-25 feet
Width: 15-30 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30° F
Schotia afra var. angustifolia (Karoo Boerboon) - This is a small tree, often with multiple branches, growing to 15-25 feet tall and spreading wider than tall. It has dark green, small narrow leaflets and clusters of red flowers in late spring and early summer. These flowers produce a copious amount of nectar, which attracts birds and are followed by large rounded green seed pods that age to black.

Plant in full sun in a well-drained dry soil and water occasionally though, once established it can thrive with no supplemental irrigation and little care. It is hardy to 20-25° F. This attractive small tree is noted as not being messy and its roots not invasive or destructive.

Schotia afra var. angustifolia which comes from inland areas of Namaqualand and Namibia. In these locales its typical habitat is along seasonal dry riverbeds. The name for the genus honors Richard van der Schot, the chief gardener of the Imperial Garden at Schönbrun Austria, the specific epithet comes from the Latin words 'afri' and 'afer' that referenced the people of Africa and was used to indicate the natural distribution of this plant in Africa. The subspecific epithet 'angustifolia' meanings narrow leaves and this is fitting as the many leaflets (up to 18 pairs) are as thin as 5/32 of an inch (4 mm). The seed of this plant is what gave this and other indigenous South African plants with edible seeds the name Boerboon, which was later translated to Boer Bean.

We grew this plant from 2006 until 2014 from seed collected in Franceschi Park in Santa Barbara, CA. Dr. Francescho Franceschi (AKA Emanuele Orazio Fenzi) was credited with the introduction of Schotia afra into cultivation in the U.S., though we are not sure whether he introduced the coastal variety afra or this more inland growing variety angustifolia. 

This information about Schotia afra var. angustifolia displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.