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
Sparrmannia africana is a hardy, mostly evergreen, fast growing large shrub that branches fairly low down. Although a fairly scraggly shrub, it has dense foliage of heart-shaped, light green, very hairy leaves.
The lovely white flowers with a crown of tufted yellowish orange stamens are borne in heads throughout spring (August to October). The stamens are sensitive to touch – spreading out when they sense being touched / landed on. Seeds are released when the spiky small fruit dries and splits open.
The fibres from the stems are used to make rope. It is well known as a house and container plant overseas, and can be used as an interesting tall backdrop to a flower bed.
Plant in shade or semi-shade, in well-composted soil. Water regularly.
Size to 4m
Cyperus albostriatus is a hardy, evergreen sedge with its tuft of basal leaves. The bare stem carries a terminal umbrella of what look like bright-green, grass-like leaves with a faint white stripe.
These are actually bracts from which the flowers are borne. A spray of delicate green flowers that turn brown when mature, are borne from July to May.
Used traditionally to make mats. Plant alongside pools and ponds where it will add delicacy and texture.
Use as a pretty indoor plant as well. It is a good plant to include in grey-water filtering systems. The Forest Sedge is a shade-loving groundcover that can tolerate the dry shade under trees. It is a vigorous grower and should be thinned out every now and again.
Size: 30 to 50cm