The Umbrella Pines of Cape Town

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As a visitor, one of the many striking things you find in Cape Town are the peculiar shaped trees found all over the lower slopes of the famous landmark of the city—the Table Mountain. Frankly, when we saw them, we thought they were very different from what we’d ever seen before. The trees had a flattish crown, with very few branches lower down, that gave it a sort of an umbrella shape. We had a couple of days in Cape Town to ourselves to explore the key attractions and needless to say, everywhere we went, we found these trees, that were almost like an inseparable extension of the city itself.

If you know me well, you’ll also know that I have a fondness for capturing the woody perennials, every time I go traveling. Naturally, here too, I was drawn to them and my curiosity got the better of me as I explored further to understand how these trees came to be here in the first place. Over a casual chat with our guide, I gathered that these are the Umbrella Pines, and although they grew everywhere in Cape Town, they were not indigenously a product of this region.

In fact, they were planted extensively in the 1700’s, and three hundred years later, they had come to be an integral part of the landscape of Cape Town. That was interesting. During the three days we were in the city, we saw them everywhere. Until, of course, we set off for the road trip, three days later.

It was only then, that we found other vegetation taking over. I could tell when the vegetation changed, that we had entered a new territory. Such an amazing variety of flora and fauna —it was hard not to feel drawn to them. Over the next few days, South Africa left us spellbound — its’ magic working its way into our wandering souls.


Joining Parul today for #thursdaytreelove which is a photo feature on Parul’s blog where you get to see beautiful trees from different places. If you’d like to join in, do visit her blog to know more. 

  • arv


    Interesting ones, Esha! I have never read or seen these in any pictures, before!

  • BellyBytes


    Imagine a tree that really looks like an umbrella! I would have found it hard to resist ‘shutting ‘ them! I hate seeing open umbrella.

  • G Angela


    I couldn’t find the tree pic:) but saw on google, looks great and very interesting to know that it was planted in 1700 and it has taken 300 years… quite a journey of this tree to become part of cape town – amazing.

  • Archana


    Wow! Never seen a tree like this.. I must look up the Umbrella Pines… Yes, its great to watch the changing flora as the countryside changes .. nature is great!!

    • Esha M Dutta

      Glad you found them interesting, Archana. Yes, do google them. You’ll find a great deal of information on the net.

  • Alana


    A fascinating three – I have never seen a tree with a flat top like that. South Africa has been a place I want to go to “one day”, now I really want to go.

    • Esha M Dutta

      True, Alana…fascinating is the right word. SA always mesmerises its visitors. Such a beautiful country indeed!

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