Do you know the difference between the Msasa and the Mnondo?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Do you know the difference between the Msasa and the Mnondo? Learn the basics and you will be  able to spot the differences in no time.

The Miombo (Brachystegia) woodland was our most widespread, and valuable, woodland on the highveld and dominated by these two beautiful trees – Msasa (Brachystegia Spiciformis) and Mnondo (Julbernadia Globiflora). I say ‘was’ because it is criminal the way this priceless woodland is disappearing, victim of the axe and the match. Well-developed Msasa woodlands are amongst the richest habitats in the world, full of seeds, insects and fruits and visited yearly by myriads of birds from thousands of kilometres away. Like a chain with a broken link, everything suffers as this wonderful woodland disappears.

The difference

The easiest way to distinguish these two trees is by size, leaves and seedpods.

Size – a full grown Msasa is a much taller tree.

The leaves – they are similar but on the Msasa, the largest and longest leaves are at the end of the twig, and on the Mnondo, the largest are in the middle.

Seedpods – on the Mnondo, they are all at the top of the tree.


The Mnondo
The Mnondo
The Msasa
The Msasa

In the garden

In the garden, people are reluctant to grow the Msasa and Mnondo because of the perception that they are slow growing. This means that if you are fortunate enough to have them already in your garden, treat them as the treasure they are.

Both trees do not like disturbance in their root zone area. I once saw a beautiful garden designed around the existing large Msasa trees, soil was moved, water features were put in, and other varieties of indigenous trees were put in, all fantastic until the Msasa trees started dying. Too much disturbance. So, if they are doing well, leave them as is. Even too much water, put on with the best of intentions, is not a good idea.  They do take time to get going so find a quiet spot in the garden where you do not want immediate results, some manure but not too much, water occasionally, keep an eye on the future and down the line, the rewards will be there.

Every garden on the highveld should have an Msasa or Mnondo somewhere. As they age and the bark gets rougher, the lichens establish and the insects move in and the birdlife flourishes.

The spring colours of these two trees place them among the most beautiful trees in the world; Msasa will go deep red depending on soil and climate, followed by a very soft green of the new leaves. Mnondo will not be as red but will nevertheless be a soft delicate pink, which is equally attractive.

By Ant Fynn

Increase your birdlife with planned indigenous trees.

Contact Ant Fynn 0772956511 or e-mail[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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