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KOPSIA arborea

Image of Kopsia arborea

Michael Charters, www.calflora.net

Family

Apocynaceae

Botanical Name

KOPSIA arborea

Plant Common Name

Penang Sloe, White Kopsia

General Description

Rich dark green leaves and sporadic clusters of fragrant, star-shaped, white flowers during the warm months are highlights of the Penang sloe. This tropical evergreen tree is native to mountain forests from southern China to northern Australia. It eventually attains a bushy, conical habit with lower limbs that droop slightly.

The leaves are deep green and glossy with a hint of blue. Leaves occur in pairs and are tapered and lance-shaped. Break a twig or leaf and expect lots of milky sap to bleed. Flowers appear any time of year but most reliably from spring to midsummer. Blossom clusters arise on branch tips and comprise numerous white, starry, tubular flowers that are fragrant and rich in nectar. A blotch of red is at the center of each star and tiny golden stamens are inside the long tubes. The ensuing fruits resemble fleshy, dark blue to nearly black plums, or sloes. Birds eat the fruits but they are toxic to mammals, including humans. Old leaves on the Penang sloe tree turn red before they drop away.

Grow Penang sloe in full sun to bright shade and any moderately fertile, well-drained soil. It's highly salt tolerant but only moderately drought tolerant. Plant it as an oceanside tree in parks or as a flowering shade tree. If the lower branches are retained, it makes an effect screen, too.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    30'-40' / 9.1m - 12.2m

  • Width

    30'-35' / 9.1m - 10.7m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    Southeastern Asia, China, Australia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Pyramidal

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Dark Blue, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Bark Color

    Tan

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Screening / Wind Break, Shade Trees, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No