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Ziziphus mucronata

(Buffalo Thorn)

This medium sized, deciduous tree is frost resistant, water wise and grows in the sun. 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.

Searsia leptodictya ( Rhus leptodictya )

(Mountain Karee)

Searsia leptodictya ( Rhus leptodictyra) Mountain Karee SA Tree No. 387 is a small evergreen tree which is frost resistant and drought resistant. It grows in the full sun and has yellow flowers in summer. It attracts birds, butterflies and mammals and is useful for hedging/screening. As it has non-aggressive roots it is used as a street tree or a shade tree in a small garden.

Tarchonanthus camphoratus

(Camphor Bush)

Tarchonanthus camphorates Camphor Bush SA Tree No. 733 is a small evergreen tree which is frost resistant, drought resistant and fast growing in the sun. The cream flowers occur in autumn and they attract butterflies. It is a fodder tree utilized by mammals. It’s also useful for hedging/screening, soil erosion or as a bonsai. Do bear in mind that it has aggressive roots. The wood is used for musical instruments and it has medicinal properties. In days gone by the seeds were used to stuff pillows!

Tecoma capensis

(Cape Honeysuckle)

Fast growing, evergreen shrub that copes well with drought conditions. It can grow to 2m and responds well to pruning. There are many colours available now from yellow, orange, salmon, pink and red and they flower from spring through summer. It also attracts the sunbirds, insect eaters and butterflies. I’ve seen it pruned into a formal hedge. You may need to cut it back slightly in spring if the frost has caught the tips during the winter. It also has medicinal uses.

Strelitzia nicolai

(Natal Wild Banana)

This evergreen tree is medium sized and gives Kwazulu Natal it’s tropical feel as it grows profusely in the dune forests. It is a rapid grower and is happy in sun or semi-shade. The stunning purple/blue and cream flowers open in Spring/Summer and attract birds, the insect and nectar eaters. It also attracts butterflies. It can be planted as a specimen plant or used for informal hedging/screening. It has very aggressive roots so don’t plant it near swimming pools or walls. We have one planted in a pot in the nursery to show the damage that the roots cause. It is used to make rope and the seeds are ground into flour and made into patties which are roasted.

Rhamnus prinoides

(Dogwood)

Grows in most parts of the country and grows to 4-6meters. It makes a rounded, evergreen screen which is attractive with its glossy green leaves. It is useful in a bird garden as the fruit is relished by birds. It also attracts butterflies. It is used medicinally and is planted as a lightening protector. The leaves are used in the beer and wine making.

Searsia lancea (Rhus lancea)

(Karee)

This tree has recently changed its name from Rhus lancea. It is wide spread and is only missing from Kwazulu Natal. It grows to 5-10meters and makes a lovely evergreen shade tree. Our grandsons loved climbing these trees when they were little. It attracts birds and butterflies and the fruit is enjoyed by our staff and is traditionally also used to make mead. The leaves produce a brown dye and are also eaten by game so it’s a good fodder tree on a game farm.

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