Platbos Forest

Milkwoods: A Plea for a Tree

by Francois Krige. At the heart of Platbos Forest stands a milkwood tree, it’s stem leans out at an angle, hollowed and knotted. It has stood there for 1000 years at least. It is not big, its trunk is over a meter wide and true to the name of the forest it grows in, the canopy is about 5 meters tall.

Milkwoods can grow much taller, and faster. Elsewhere in the forest where there is more underground water, there are trees double its height that are probably younger. Down on the coast, from Saldanha in the west, to Kenya on the east coast, on the rocky shoreline, the first vegetation to be found that is not seaweed is a milkwood.