Did You Know

Illustration by Duncan Butchart

Illustration by Duncan Butchart

Milkwood trees bear small white flowers in summer that smell like old socks. This attracts flies to pollinate them. Not your common house flies, but tiny feather-legged flies – or so it’s thought. Successful pollination leads to small purple fruit that taste like grapes and much loved by birds and baboons. They form dense stands with low overhanging canopies of waxy leaves to protect them from salt-laden winds. Since milkwoods grow where people like to build their seaside homes, milkwood forests have largely given way to bulldozers. They are now protected.