Curtisia dentataTree Number: 570
A medium to tall evergreen tree, 2-12 m and up to 20 m in height.
The leaves are simple, egg-shaped with pointed tips and coarsely toothed edges, and are arranged in opposite pairs. The leaf’s upper surface is smooth and dark glossy green whereas the undersurface is grey-green with conspicuous veins. The undersurface of the leaf, the leaf stalk and the twigs are all covered with small, reddish hairs. Very young growth is velvety to the touch and bronze-gold in colour.
The flowers are small, cream- or fawn-coloured and appear in much-branched sprays at the ends of twigs in spring-summer (Oct.-Mar.)
The fruits contain a four-chambered nut, one seed per chamber, although not all four seeds are always formed. Fruits are edible but bitter. They remain on the tree for a long time and can be very decorative.
The common name assegai is derived from the Arabic name azzaghayah.
The lourie and the bush dove appear to be the main agents of dispersal of the seed.