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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 cream flowers occur in spring. This tree attracts birds and mammals and has non-aggressive roots. The fruit is used to distil brandy and is edible. The roots and leaves are medicinal yet it is considered unlucky so the wood is not used.

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.

Zanthoxylum capense

(Small Knobwood)

Protected in Free State, seeds used to make perfume, bark used for toothbrushes.

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.

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 pendulina ( Rhus pendulina )

(White Karee)

This willowy evergreen small to medium-sized tree, 4 to 9 m tall, It is quick and easy to grow, tolerates wind and drought, and is evergreen with a graceful habit and a neat crown. It won't get too big and it's not untidy. Tiny green flowers are produced in spring-summer. They are inconspicuous, but attract bees and other insects. The flowers are followed by small rounded berries, green turning reddish and drying to black, usually ripening in the autumn. It h has non-aggressive roots, is frost hardy, drought resistant and it also attract birds and butterflies.

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.

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. The leaves are used in the beer and wine making. The inconspicuous flowers are greenish, blooming between November and January, in small clusters. They are loved by the bees, butterflies and other insects. The fruits are about the size of a pea (about 5 mm in diameter), roundish and clearly divided into three compartments. They appear between December and June. They are fleshy and green, turning red and then purple as they ripen. The fruit is loved by many bird species, so it's a great addition to a bird garden. The wood is white to yellow, often streaked with brown, pink, red or green and is hard and heavy. It is too small to be generally useful, although sticks may be made of it. It is tough and frost resistant and grows well in most soils. It is evergreen and is good for small gardens and hedges, especially in cold areas. It is widely used by African people as a protective charm to ward off lightning and evil influences from homes and crops and to bring luck in hunting. It is also used by Africans to cleanse the blood, to treat pneumonia, rheumatism, sprains, and stomach ache, and as a gargle. It is also used in the treatment of skin complaints and respiratory infections.

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