Searsia lancea (Rhus lancea)
Protected in Northern Cape & Jacobsdal District in Free State, fruit edible and used to make mead. Leaves produce brown dye.
SA Tree No:
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. it is in the top 5 frost and drought hardy trees. Our grandsons loved climbing these trees when they were little as they branch low down if left to their own devices. It attracts birds and butterflies and the fruit is enjoyed by our staff, although it is sour and it is traditionally also used to make mead or tea. It is also eaten by birds lie bulbuls and the fallen fruit is eaten by guineafowl and francolins. The leaves produce a brown dye and are also eaten by game like kudu, roan and sable so it’s a good fodder tree on a game farm. This tree indicates surface or underground water and it does not have aggressive roots. The wood is used as fencing posts as it is termite proof. The bark is used for tanning. It is protected in the Northern Cape and the Jacobsdal area in the Free State. Plant it 5 meters from a building or a pond. The name is derived fro the Greek rhous, = red; referring to the fruits or the autumn leaves. Named for Paul Sears( 1891-1990) a US plant ecologist and professor who authored many books.