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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.

Aloe aristata

(Serelei)

The common name which means ‘the slippery one’ whereas aristata means ’awned’ which refers to the awn- like leaf tips. It is very frost hardy as it occurs in the coldest parts of the country, the mountains of Lesotho and the Karoo. The leaves have numerous white spots and it is often confused with Haworthia. It’s a little low growing Aloe which would look great with succulents in a rockery.

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.

Watsonia pillansii

(Watsonia)

This is an evergreen Watsonia which flowers with Orange red flowers from late summer into autumn. They stand 50 cm tall and attract butterflies and birds. They prefer full sun and are water wise. They are very pretty if mass planted or even if one plants clumps of them in a sunny spot.

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.

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.

Veltheimia bracteata

(Bush Lily)

These beautiful flowers look a bit like an Aloe. They stand about 50cm tall and are a striking pink-red in colour. They are deciduous during mid-summer. These are shade loving bulbs growing naturally in the coastal forests of the Eastern Cape. They are happy growing in a pot on a patio.

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