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Aloe tenuior

(No common name)

This aloe grows into a large bush with stems up to 2 meters. There are red and yellow flowering forms and seem to flower on and off throughout the year, peaking in winter. Its natural distribution is from the Eastern Cape, through Kwazulu Natal and Swaziland into Mpumalanga. It’s a useful plant to fill a gap in a large garden. It is medicinal as root decoctions are used to treat tapeworm.

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.

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.

Vepris lanceolata

(White Ironwood)

This medium sized, evergreen tree grows to 6m high in open woodland but in deep forests it becomes a tall graceful tree with a gently rounded crown of shiny light green foliage. The whitish grey bark is smooth and the tiny yellowish flowers appear in sprays from December to March. The leaves and fruit are dotted with oil glands that release a citrus smell when crushed. The small, black fruits are favoured by birds. It tolerates only light frost and is fairly drought resistant once established. It makes a good screen. It grows very well in sandy soil. It is ideal for small gardens and bird gardens. It attracts birds and butterflies.

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!

Searsia dentata ( Rhus dentata )

(Nana-Berry)

A deciduous shrub to small tree up to 6 m high, with a smooth, greyish brown bark. The leaves, which are pink when young, turn dull yellow to orange-red in autumn. The small, yellowish green flowers are borne in clusters at the end of the branches from September to November, and this species has male and female flowers on different plants. The flowers are followed by the shiny, bright red fruits, in heavy clusters from November to January on the female plants. This species grows in almost any kind of soil. Young plants need lots of water but once they are established, they do not need much. These plants are therefore good subjects for water-wise gardening. This shrub does well in a cool soil, with a thick layer of leaf mulch on top. It prefers sun or semi-shade. It is frost and drought hardy and makes a beautiful container plant. It attracts birds, butterflies and other insects.

Searsia chirindensis (Rhus chirindensis)

(Red Currant)

The red currant is a semi-deciduous shrub to small tree, 6-10 m tall although it may reach 20 m. Young and coppicing branches are armed with spines, although the mature tree is spineless. The flowers are small, yellowish green and are borne in clusters at the ends of the branches from August to March. Male and female flowers occur on separate trees. The fruits, which are round, shiny, slightly fleshy, dark reddish brown are borne from December to March, in heavy clusters which can weigh down the branches and the fruits are edible. It can be grown in full sun or partial shade and should be planted in well-drained, composted soil. It does not have an aggressive root system. It will tolerate moderate frosts and is drought hardy. The sap of this tree is used in traditional medicine for treating heart complaints. The bark is also used to strengthen the body, to stimulate circulation and in the treatment of rheumatism and mental disorders. It attracts birds and butterflies. We have had Mopani worms on the tree in our nursery which delighted my staff as they eat them.

Searsia pyroides (Rhus pyroides)

(Fire Thorn)

This is a deciduous shrub or small to medium-sized, multistemmed tree, frequently with spines. The bark is rough and grey. The leaves are compound, composed of three leaflets (tri-foliate). The leaves are borne on slender stalks, which are furrowed above. The leaflets are oval, narrowing at both ends, sometimes with a short tip. They are smooth or velvety above, the lower surface is usually slightly hairy. The fruits ripen in summer to late autumn and in such quantities that the branches bend with the weight. The fruits are round and small, white and red when ripe. The wood is used to make hoe handles. The branches are used to build kraals. The fruit is edible, with a pleasant, sweet-acidic taste. It is a hardy, frost-resistant plant and is well suited to Highveld gardens.

Rhus pentheri ( Rhus pentheri )

(Crowberry)

An evergreen small sized tree. It is frost resistant, drought resistant, and grows in full sun. The yellow/green flowers open in Summer and they attract birds. It has non-aggressive roots. It is a useful tree on a game farm as the leaves are browsed by game and mammals. The edible fruit is enjoyed by birds and people.

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