These trees surround Ferncliffe forest wilding’s base. Fruit bats squeak from their boughs at night; bees and insects are attracted by the flowers, dangling temptingly down in sprays; and the purplish fruit are gobbled down by everything from turacos to Vervet Monkeys. They are gorgeous when adult, trunks sturdy and firm. There are a handful here that stand dotted along a stream, roots holding banks together and creeping across the earth.
They drop their leaves slowly in winter, covering the forest floor in a crackly protective layer. It also means they can share a dose of winter sun with those species a lot shorter than they are.
Despite the name and the taste of quinine obtained when the bark is scratched, the tree is ineffectual against malaria. Still, parts of the plant are used in traditional medicine for various ailments. Our youngsters are all from the area and still relatively small, but can grow up to 1.5m a year.