South African Indigenous Trees for Arbor Week 2015

I am constantly reminded of how lucky we are to live in this amazing country we call South Africa.  It is so rich in biodiversity and promise.

The indigenous trees, too, reflect this richness, and evoke the spirit of the place that their species originated from.  For instance, when I look at the Acacia species, they are the quintessential African Savannah trees.

South Africa has some 1700 indigenous tree species, and each year 2 species are chosen as the tree of the year. 

This Arbor Week we tell you a bit more about the Trees of the Year for 2015. They are the Forest Bushwillow (Combretum kraussii) and the Parsley Tree (Heteromorpha arborescens).

Combretum krausii - Forest Bushwillow (E); Bosvaderslandwilg (A); umdubuwehlathi (Z); modubu (S)

Hardy, fast growing, semi-deciduous tree with glossy dark green leaves that turn vivid red and purple in autumn.  It retains these colours for most of the winter.  In spring when the new leaves flush, they are often white, making this a gorgeous foliage plant.  

It flowers from Aug. to Nov. with small, white, sweetly scented puffball flowers that attract both birds and insects to the garden.  Four-winged pink to red fruits follow the flowers.  This tree has lovely whitish bark and is one of our most decorative trees.  Plant in sun or semi-shade.  Traditionally the branches are used to weave baskets.

S.A. No. 540 Distribution: Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal,  E. Cape

Natural Habitat: Evergreen forest and forest margins

Heteromorpha trifoliata (= Heteromorpha arborescens)- Common Parsley Tree (E); Gewone Pietersielieboom (A); muthatha-vhanna (V); serethe (Tsw); umbangandlala (Z)

Slender, very hardy, deciduous, drought resistant, fast growing tree.  An attractive feature of this tree is its glossy, waxy, coppery coloured, peeling bark.  The grey-green leaves which turn yellow and red in autumn smell of parsley when crushed, hence the common name.

The graceful heads of small, yellowish flowers are borne from Jan. to April and attract many insects which in turn attract birds.  All parts of the tree are aromatic.  Ideal tree for a small garden, especially to attract birds and other wildlife.  This tree is considered to bring good luck and is used for a variety of medicinal and magical purposes.

Distribution: Limpopo, N. West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal,  Free State, N. Cape, E. Cape, W. Cape Natural

Habitat: Forest margins, wooded ravines, hillsides and rocky outcrops

Comments

Got something to say? Join the discussion »
    Posted @ 6/22/2016 12:07 PM by Heather Balcomb   
    Heather Balcomb's avatar

    Hello Charmaine,
    I'm so sorry - I don't know what happened to my response to you the second time around - but here it is again.

    Larger trees you could use are:
    Combretum erythrophyllum
    Acacia galpinii
    Podocarpus falcatus
    If you don't need a tall tree but rather something pretty just to line the driveway, you could use
    Buddleja saligna (must be the small-leaved variety as more frost hardy) with Dais cotiniifolia
    Euclea crispa
    Rhus gerrardii
    Olea europaea subsp. africana
    Olinia emarginata (this is very rare in cultivation, and not easily available but hardy and very beautiful)

    I hope this helps. All the best with your avenue!

    Posted @ 6/13/2016 11:45 AM by Heather Balcomb   
    Heather Balcomb's avatar

    Hello Charmaine,
    My immediate response is to try Celtis africana (White Stinkwood) or perhaps Acacia sieberana (Paperbark Acacia). Both are frost hardy, and I know Howick can get pretty chilly! Do you want to use one species of tree only, or would you consider alternating two different species? I'll follow up after asking my colleagues at the nursery for additional suggestions. I'll be able to get back to you in the next day or two. Kind regards, Heather

    Posted @ 6/13/2016 11:45 AM by Heather Balcomb   
    Heather Balcomb's avatar

    Hello Charmaine,
    My immediate response is to try Celtis africana (White Stinkwood) or perhaps Acacia sieberana (Paperbark Acacia). Both are frost hardy, and I know Howick can get pretty chilly! Do you want to use one species of tree only, or would you consider alternating two different species? I'll follow up after asking my colleagues at the nursery for additional suggestions. I'll be able to get back to you in the next day or two. Kind regards, Heather

    Posted @ 6/13/2016 11:01 AM by Charmaine   
    Charmaine's avatar

    Hi, I have a very long driveway on my smallholding in the KZN midlands (Howick area), and want to plant it up to create an avenue of trees. I would much prefer to plant indigenous, however I do not know which indigenous trees would be suitable for this purpose.

    I would appreciate your input.

    Posted @ 9/1/2015 8:37 AM by JeAnette Craukamp   
    JeAnette Craukamp's avatar

    Hello I enjoy all. The trees. You have And All. The. GooD news about. Your. Trees, thAnk you,

Leave a Reply

 [Quick Submit with Ctrl+Enter]

Remember my details
Notify me of followup comments via e-mail

Subscribe to our news blog

Get the latest updates in your email box automatically.

Blog Items

Search

Archive