Tree of the Month

Rhoicissus digitata – SA Tree number: 456.2

Common Names:  baboon grape (Eng.) Bobbejaandruif (Afr.) isaQoni esincini (X.)

This hardy, evergreen creeper is often the pioneer species on coastal dunes in the Western Cape.  It can also be used as a shade screen or decoratively draped over a large rock.

The small greenish-yellow flowers appear during late summer and autumn and their abundance of nectar attract bees and wasps.

The main stem is woody with distinctively russet-orange hairs covering young stems. New leaves can be conspicuously rust-red. Tendrils occur opposite the leaves which are digitally compound, with three to five leaflets with very short stalks. The middle leaflet is always a bit longer than the others. The leaves are shiny dark green above and with fine russet hairs below, the margin is entire and rolled under.


Vines:  The young stems are used as a rope for tying down thatch and in basket making.

Fruit: The large, red-brown berries ripen from autumn to winter and attract many bird species.
The tart tasting fruit is also used to make jams.

Leaves:  Larvae of various moths feed on Rhoicissus.