Maytenus undata is a very hardy, evergreen large or small tree. Its height is very variable, and depends on the area in which it is growing. The colder it is the smaller the tree. The bark is grey-brown with patches flaking off and leaving pinkish blotches.
One can tell the hardiness by the foliage form - the smaller and more leathery the leaves, the hardier the tree. The foliage is variable in size and colour from pale to dark-green and gives off a musty scent when rubbed.
It bears creamy-white flowers all summer (from September to May).
In April the tree produces black seeds covered with orange flesh that attract birds.
Makes a good garden subject or container plant and is a must for a wildlife garden.
Plant in semi-shade or sun.
Size: 1 to 6m
Vangueria infausta is a hardy, deciduous, drought-resistant, large shrub or small tree with big, velvety leaves that have prominent veins on the under-surface.
Clusters of small, greenish-white, sweetly-scented flowers are borne from September to November, usually before the leaves appear.
Brachylaena rotundata is a hardy, semi-deciduous to deciduous, medium sized, drought resistant tree or large shrub with slender, drooping branches and corky bark. The attractive, leathery, silver-grey foliage is covered with cobwebby hairs especially when the leaves are young.
In autumn the leaves get a reddish tinge.
The tree is covered in yellow thistle-like flowers from August to September (the male and female flowers are on separate trees).
It is host to the moth Phyllonorycter brachylaenae.
Excellent garden subject.
Plant in sun or semi-shade, in well drained soil.
Size: 4 to 5m S.A. No. 730
Strychnos madagascariensis is a hardy, deciduous, large shrub or shrubby, multi-stemmed small tree with pale grey bark and quite thick, shiny leaves that are blue-grey-green below.
The small greenish-yellow flowers are borne on the old wood from October to December. These are followed by large (80 to 100mm diameter), spectacular, bluish-grey fruits with a hard, woody shell. These fruits adorn the tree for up to a year before they fall. They will keep for up to 5 years, and during this time, the seed will turn dark brown.
The fruits can be polished and used as decorations. The pulp is edible but the seeds are said to be poisonous. All parts of the plant are utilised by game and cattle.
A good tree for a small garden.
Plant in sun or semi-shade in well-drained soil.
Size: 3 to 6m
Azanza garckeana is a fairly hardy, deciduous, small to medium-sized tree with greyish-black, fibrous bark. This drought-resistant little tree has palmate-shaped attractive foliage.
From December to May it bears large, showy, solitary bell-shaped yellow flowers with a purplish brown centre. The large round fruits are sweet and edible but quite glutinous.
This tree makes a beautiful container plant. Although it is drought-resistant it will thrive with adequate water. Plant in well-drained soil in full sun.
Size: 3 to 13m
Acacia luederitzii var. luederitzii is a very hardy, deciduous, quite slow-growing Acacia that can tolerate harsh conditions as it grows in desert and semi-desert areas. It develops a flat crown, typical of African Acacias, with age. It has fine, feathery, grey-green foliage.
A combination of straight and hooked thorns make this Acacia a formidable security barrier when allowed to branch low and individual plants are planted close together.
The creamy-white puffball flowers are borne from October to February and attract a whole host of insects. The nutritional, elongated, purple-brown pods will split and persist on the tree - another interesting feature.
A perfect Acacia for smaller gardens. Once established it requires very little attention.
Plant in well-drained soil in sun.
Note: in Acacia luederitzii var. retinens, which occurs in Kwazulu Natal, Swaziland and Mozambique, the inflated, paired spines look like miniature buffalo horns and are an interesting feature of this tree. These do not occur in var. luederitzii.
Lannea discolor is a fairly hardy, deciduous tree with a lovely, rounded crown. The dark grey bark that cracks into blocks and peels off is an attractive feature of this tree. The bicoloured foliage is green above and grey beneath.
From September to October, the translucent, sweetly-scented creamy-yellow flowers are clustered at the tips of the branchlets and attract insects to the garden. The flowers are borne on the leafless tree which is particularly attractive. These are followed by conspicuous green fruits that turn purple when ripe. The fruits are edible and attract birds and other wildlife.
In nature, this tree is often associated with termite mounds. Used in traditional medicine and the wood is used to make fence posts.
Plant in well-drained soil in a protected position. Will do well in sun or semi-shade.
Size: up to 15m