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Ornithogallum juncifolium

(Rush-leaved Star of Bethlehem)

Grass like bulb with ribbed, twisted leaves that stand 10 – 40 cm tall. If they are growing in the shade, the leaves are much longer than those growing in the sun. The flower spike of white flowers is also often twisted and they are faintly fragrant. It is lovely planted as a meadow with various bulbs planted in between.

Ziziphus mucronata

(Buffalo Thorn)

This medium sized, deciduous tree is frost resistant, drought resistant and grows in the sun. It has non aggressive roots. This is a great bird garden tree as it attracts the insect, fruit and nectar eaters as well as being used for nesting sites. It also attracts butterflies. It could be used as an informal hedge/screen or as a thorny security barrier. It is an important fodder tree for game farms. It is protected in Free State. The raw fruit is edible, or it can be cooked into a porridge or roasted and used as a coffee substitute. The nutritious leaves are cooked as spinach and the wood is useful fuel. It is an important medicinal tree and it has many magical uses. The zig zag shaped young branches epitomize one’s path through life which is both good and bad. The leaves are 3 veined to remind us that our relationships with God, the environment and our fellow man need to be in balance. The forward pointing thorns remind us to reach for our goals and the recurved ones remind us to look back and reflect on where we have come from.

Tulbaghia violacea

(Wild Garlic)

This is a popular evergreen groundcover which is frost resistant, drought resistant and fast growing in the sun. The mauve flowers open in summer and attract birds and butterflies. It is traditionally used as a snake repellent and they have many traditional medicinal uses. An infusion of the tuber is used as a love charm and the leaves are rubbed onto the forehead to treat a sinus headache. The leaves are delicious chopped into a salad or omelet and the flowers are also edible and look lovely in a salad The early colonists like Jan van Riebeeck ate both the leaves and the rhizomes, in fact he called it a leek. It is grown abroad and is known as "Society Garlic".This is a perfect choice for small gardens.

Tulbaghia simmleri (Tulbaghia fragrans)

(Fragrant Wild Garlic)

This very pretty, fragrant mauve or white flower is on a 25 cm spike and opens in winter. It is cheerful to have one in your garden during the brown, dry Highveld winter. The leaves are wider than the Tulbaghia violacea and not as pungent. They are also edible and are successfully used in a vase. It grows best in the semi shade and is used medicinally for fevers, cold, asthma and TB.

Vangueria infausta

(Wild Medlar)

Vangueria infausta Wild Medlar SA Tree No. 702 is a deciduous tree, (small) which is frost resistant, drought resistant and is happy in the full sun.The Medlar has smooth tan-grey trunk that sometimes flakes and large leaves that are densely covered with short soft golden hairs. The cream flowers occur in spring. This tree attracts birds, butterflies and mammals and has non-aggressive roots. The edible rounded fruits contain high level of vitamin C, calcium and magnesium, and ripen to yellow/ brown. They are used to distill brandy and are popular with people, birds, monkey and bushpigs. The seeds can be also roasted and eaten. The roots and leaves are medicinal yet it is considered unlucky so the wood is not used. Traditional remedies prepared from the roots are used to treat malaria and other chest troubles. It is indeed a valuable asset on farms and game farms. It has non-aggressive roots.

Thunbergia alata

(Black-Eyed Susan)

Cheerful, evergreen shrub which is frost resistant, water wise and fast growing in the sun or semi-shade. The orange flowers occur all year and they attract birds - insect eaters. It is useful for containers and is ideal for small gardens where is can be grown on a trellis to act as a screen. I’ve used it floating in a globlet as a table arrangement. It is popular throughout the world.

Zanthoxylum capense

(Small Knobwood)

This small, mutistemmed tree grows to about 5 m in the sun or semi shade in the dry woodlands on rocky slopes. It’ s a protected tree with glossy green leaves that have a strong citrus smell when crushed, the thorns are straight and brown and fade to grey on cone shaped protuberance when old. The flowers are white/green and are sweetly scented. It is both drought and frost hardy. The citrus swallowtail larvae feed off the leaves while the fruit is eaten by birds, monkeys and baboons. The leaves are browsed by kudu, klipspringer and grey duiker. It is used medicinally for stomach aches, fever, bites, toothache, and epilepsy and to heal sores.it is useful for containers as it has non aggressive roots.

Tulbaghia violacea silver lace

(Variegated Tulbaghia)

t is a fast-growing, bulbous plant that reaches a height of 0.5 m. Thevariegated leaves are long, narrow, strap-like, slightly fleshy and smell strongly of garlic when bruised. They grow from fat, tuberous roots which spread to form clumps of plants. The pinkish mauve, tubular flowers, clustered into umbels of up to twenty flowers, are held above the leaves on a tall flower stalk, and appear over a long period in summer. They too smell of garlic when picked. The fruit, triangular capsules, are grouped into a head, and when ripe they split to release the flattened, hard black seeds. This attractive plant is ideal for the herb garden, as both the leaves and flowers can be used in salads and other dishes. The crushed leaves may be used to help cure sinus headaches and to discourage moles from the garden. The smell repels fleas, ticks and mosquitoes when crushed on the skin. The fresh bulbs are boiled in water and the decoctions are taken orally to clear up coughs and colds. The bulb has been used as a remedy for pulmonary tuberculosis and to destroy intestinal worms. Wild garlic may prove to have the same or similar antibacterial and antifungal activities as has been scientifically verified for real garlic. The leaves are used to treat cancer of the oesophagus. The Zulus use the leaves and flowers as spinach and as a hot, peppery seasoning with meat and potatoes. They also use the bulb to make an aphrodisiac medicine. Wild garlic is a very good snake repellent and for this reason the Zulus plant it around their homes. It can be used as an edging plant, along a pathway, and is displayed to great advantage in a rockery and can also be mass planted to form a groundcover, in sunny or partially shaded positions. It thrives in well-drained soil containing plenty of compost. This is a popular garden plant that is useful for difficult hot corners of the garden as it will tolerate prolonged drought, although it flourishes with regular watering. Attracts butterflies.

Typha capensis

(Bulrush)

Typha capensis Bulrush These plants are deciduous and grow to about 2 m tall. They are often seen on the verge of a dam, wetland or river where the roots filter the water. It is frost resistant, fast growing and has brownish flowers in summer. Birds use these as nesting sites and humans utilize it for many things eg the rhizomes are used for meal and the leaves are useful for brooms, weaving and thatching. It is also medicinal,

Salix mucronata

(Safsaf Willow)

This graceful semi-deciduous to evergreen tree grows to 15m with an open crown and slightly drooping branches. Older trees have fissured, brown bark, while younger trees have smooth, green-red bark. The leaves are simple, alternate and taper to both ends. They are glossy, dark green above and light green below. The leaf margins are serrated. Flowers appear in short spikes with males and females on separate trees. The male spikes are dense, yellowish and can be up to 50mm in length. The greenish coloured female spikes are shorter and thicker. The flowing season is in summer .The fruit is a small capsule, which splits to release seeds covered with white fluff. Traditional uses include, applying bark powder to burns, and brewing tea from the leaves to treat rheumatism and malaria headaches and is a mild laxative. Young tree branches are used to make baskets and the wood is carved to make household, as well as decorative items. The tree can withstand both frost and drought and it attracts both birds, butterflies and mammals. It is a water loving tree so plant it near a pond or dam but it may have aggressive roots.

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