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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.

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.

Ziziphus mucronata

(Buffalo Thorn)

This medium sized, deciduous tree is frost resistant, water wise 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. It is a mystical tree and 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 simmleri (Tulbaghia fragrans)

(Fragrant Wild Garlic)

This very pretty, fragrant mauve 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. 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.

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,

Tulbaghia violacea

(Wild Garlic)

This is a popular evergreen groundcover which is frost 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. The leaves are delicious chopped into a salad or omelet and the flowers are also edible. This is a perfect choice for small gardens.

Schotia brachypetala

(Weeping Boerbean)

This large, handsome deciduous tree is relatively frost resistant. In warm areas it is evergreen. It is found in riverine forests. It is water wise and grows in the sun, shade or semi-shade. The stunning rich, deep red flowers open in spring and summer and they attract birds, the insect, fruit and nectar eaters. It is also used for nesting sites and attracts butterflies. The bark is traditionally used to make sangoma's red dye and the seeds are roasted and eaten. It’s a magical tree and is used to ward off evil. It’s a show stopper when in flower but do remember that it drops nectar on parked cars, hence the common name!

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