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Products > Commiphora harveyi
Commiphora harveyi - Copper-stem Corkwood

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Burseraceae
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Flower Color: Pale Yellow
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Synonyms: [Balsamea harveyii]
Height: 12-20 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Commiphora harveyi (Copper-stem Corkwood) - An interesting and attractive deciduous small tree that grows to 12 to 20 feet or more tall with twisted trunk and stems that has silky, copper colored bark peeling off in in large flakes to expose the green-bronze underbark. It has pinnately compound leaves with thin glossy green broadly lanceolate leaflets that turn yellow before dropping in late fall. As might be expected with this relative of the myrrh (Commiphora myrrha, the leaves are fragrant when crushed. The small, pale yellow to cream flowers are dioecious (plants either have male or female flowers) and appear in clusters at the end of 4 inch long slender stalks late spring to early summer. Plant in full sun to light shade with occasional to infrequent irrigation in garden plantings, but more regular if kept as a container or bonsai specimen. Has proven hardy to light frosts but likely should be protected from temperatures much below 30F. This is an small tree for a dry garden with the bark and twisted stems providing the most interest and it is commonly used in bonsai with some leaf size reduction when kept potted but foliage is never miniaturized as some bonsai plants will do. Commiphora harveyii is found naturally growing in southeastern Africa and is found in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape, often in rocky areas on hot full sun north-facing slopes or in coastal forests. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'kommi', meaning "gum" and 'phoros' meaning "bearing" in reference to the gum-bearing attributes of the Myrrhs, with aromatic resins that are used for fragrance and medicinal uses. The specific epithet honors the Irish botanist William Henry. Harvey (1811-1866) who was the colonial Treasurer-General of South Africa. This plant can be grow from large stem cuttings called truncheons, which are used in South Africa to make living fences by inserting the unrooted stems spaced evenly in the ground. Our plants are cutting grown from a plant grown by John Bleck 

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