Species: Combretum heroense
The Russet Bush Willow is one of the most commonly found trees on Kapama and in the Lowveld.
Bush willow’s/Combretum spp. all have four-winged pods. The Russet Bush Willow’s pods are brilliant russet-red in summer, changing to a light, coppery-brown later in the season. Their pods remain on the tree for long periods – often until July.
This tree is utilized by various animals in particular Kudu, giraffe, elephant, steenbok, impala and Nyala.
Humans also use parts of the tree:
- Pods can be brewed in water to make a pleasant tea.
- Straight branches are used to make “kieries” (walking sticks)
- The wood is very hard and is used a support beams in mines. It can also be used for pick and hoe handles.
- Russet Bush Willow wood is termite and woodborer proof and can be used for fence posts and furniture.
- An infusion of the roots can be used to treat stomach problems.
- The bark is used for heartburn and heart diseases.
Hailey Bunge (Kapama River Lodge Ranger)