Acacia mellifera (=Senegalia mellifera) is very drought resistant, hardy, thickset, deciduous Acacia with vicious, hook thorns.
Acacia rehmanniana (=Vachellia rehmanniana) is a hardy, drought resistant, semi-deciduous Acacia with small, attractive grey-green, velvety leaves.
The beautiful red bark on the young stems glows in the sunlight while the mature bark has dark brown rough strips with a red background.
Try to plant the tree where it either catches the rising or setting sun, when the glowing stems are a sight to behold.
Acacia tortilis (=Vachellia tortilis) is a hardy, deciduous, drought resistant, slow growing umbrella-shaped Acacia.
Ziziphus rivularis is a hardy, rare, evergreen to semi-deciduous, fast growing small tree with attractive glossy, olive green foliage with interesting but quite variable venation.
It bears small, yellowish, inconspicuous flowers in November.
Ziziphus mucronata is a very hardy, deciduous, small to medium sized tree with both hook and straight thorns. The glossy leaves turn a beautiful, golden yellow in autumn.
It has attractive, small, yellowish flowers from October to January and hard, round, reddish-brown berries with a sweet, powdery pulp, which are known to be used as a kind of porridge.
Scolopia mundtii is a very hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, medium growing, small or medium sized tree which is rare and even more rare in cultivation.
The coppice shoots of this tree have spines which soon disappear.
Croton gratissimus is a hardy, deciduous, small to medium sized, drought resistant tree with lovely pale grey bark.
Brachylaena discolor is a hardy, evergreen, fast growing tree or large shrub with beautiful silver and dark green leaves. White, nectar rich flowers are borne from July to September.
Male and female flowers on separate plants. Ideal as a windbreak and screening plant.
Ficus ingens is a fairly hardy, drought resistant fig with a grey to yellowish grey bark.
Galpinia transvaalica is a hardy, decorative, thickset, small to medium sized, sometimes multi-stemmed, evergreen tree. It has waxy, glossy, wavy-edged leaves that flush an amazing red in spring.
Showy white flowers are borne from December to April which attract insects to the garden.
It is also a butterfly host tree. A quick growing small to medium sized tree that makes a good container plant.
It can also be pruned into an attractive, formal hedge in sun or semi-shade.
Size 3 to 10 m
Heteromorpha trifoliata is a slender, very hardy, deciduous, drought resistant, fast growing tree.
Buddleja saligna is a very hardy, evergreen, fast growing, drought resistant tree with silver-grey leaves and beautiful twisted bark that looks almost woven.
It bears profuse panicles of sweetly scented, white flowers from August to January that attract insects and birds.
Bersama lucens is a fairly hardy, evergreen, small, compact tree with a well-developed crown and beautiful blotchy, wrinkled, grey bark.
The young leaves are a brilliant glossy russet brown, turning dark green when mature.
The small greenish white flowers, in long narrow heads, appear from September to June and are followed by green capsules that split to reveal scarlet seeds that attract birds.
The bark is sought after in traditional medicine and this species is becoming increasingly rare.
It is a beautiful, decorative tree for a shady to semi-shady part of the garden.
Canthium gilfillanii is a very hardy, evergreen, drought resistant tree with interesting, angular branching patterns and beautiful silver bark.
It has small greenish flowers from August to December. which attract insects.
Catha edulis is a small, hardy, fast-growing, evergreen to semi deciduous tree that has a lovely slender shape.
The glossy green leaves and young branches droop, giving the tree a graceful, weeping look.
Combretum krausii is a hardy, fast growing, semi-deciduous tree with glossy dark green leaves that turn vivid red and purple in autumn.
Cunonia capensis is a hardy, evergreen, fast growing, small to medium sized tree.
The beautiful compound leaves have red petioles and large, red, spoon-shaped stipules that give the tree an overall reddish look and make this a beautiful foliage plant.
It blooms profusely with white, sweetly scented, upright ‘bottlebrush’ flowers from February to May that attract a myriad of insects and butterflies. The fruit attracts birds to the garden.
A handsome tree and good garden subject, which needs a cool, moist area.
Dais cotinifolia is a very hardy, fast growing, deciduous, small tree with attractive slightly blue green leaves.
In spring it has scattered pink leaves in the crown adding to the interest.
Diospyros whyteana is a large, hardy, very decorative, evergreen shrub or small tree with glossy, almost mirror-like, dark green leaves.
The clusters of small, fragrant, bell-like white flowers are borne from July to October The fruits are red when ripe, enclosed by bladder-like structures.
Dombeya rotundifolia is a very hardy, deciduous, drought and fire resistant, upright tree. It has round, leathery, rough leaves, and attractive, rough, fissured bark which is utilized by Woodpeckers.
This is one of the first trees to bloom in spring where it stands out on the bare hillsides in snowy white patches. Showy clusters of sweetly scented white flowers start blooming in profusion on the bare branches in July and continue well into September before the leaves appear.
Halleria lucida is a hardy, evergreen, small to medium sized tree with attractive foliage and a graceful drooping habit.
Heteropyxis canescens is a rare, hardy, small, semi-deciduous tree that occurs in forested ravines and riverine forests in a restricted area of Mpumalanga and Swaziland.
It has beautiful, sparkling, beige bark that flakes off in patches leaving attractive blotches.
The quite large, decorative leaves have interesting venation and smell of lavender when crushed.
Heteropyxis natalensis is a hardy, slender, upright, narrow, semi-deciduous tree with truly beautiful, pale creamy bark that, with age, develops beautiful apricot coloured patches on it.
Apodytes dimidiata is a hardy, evergreen, beautifully shaped, fairly fast growing tree with dense, glossy, dark green foliage.
Densely clustered spikes of strongly scented, snow-white flowers that are borne from September to April, especially after good rains.
Loxostylis alata is a fairly hardy, evergreen, small to medium sized decorative tree with corky grey bark.
It bears sprays of pretty white, scented flowers from October to April.
Olinia emarginata is a very frost-hardy, evergreen small to medium sized tree that can grow into a huge tree in forest situations.
Pappea capensis is a hardy, evergreen, very attractive, small to medium sized, neatly shaped, dense tree.
Peltophorum africanum is a hardy, deciduous, drought-resistant, small- to medium-sized tree with brown, rough, longitudinally fissured bark.
The lovely fine, feathery leaves resemble those of Acacia species but the tree is thornless.
Philenoptera violacea is a hardy, small to medium sized, upright, semi-deciduous tree that has beautiful pale lavender-grey bark.
It drops its attractive, large grey-green leaves in spring, at the same time as the new leaves begin to appear. The leaves are palatable to many species of game.
The masses of beautiful large sprays of delicate, pea-like, lilac flowers are borne in October and November (sometimes September to December), and are sweetly scented.
Phoenix reclinata is a very hardy, evergreen, palm with shiny, light to dark green, long arching leaves that become spiny close to the stem.
The Palm Swift glues its nest to the fronds. It bears showy, creamy-white pollen-laden male flowers from August to October. (male and female flowers on separate plants). Female flowers are yellowish.
The luminous orange-brown fruit are borne in large hanging zig-zagged branches during late summer.
Pittosporum viridiflorum is a very hardy, evergreen, small to medium-sized, well-shaped tree with glossy leaves that have a resinous smell when crushed.
The bark has small pits in it and is an attractive feature of this tree. It is grey in young trees and becomes darker, rough and slightly fissured in mature specimens, and smells slightly of liquorice.
The dense clusters of sweetly scented, cream flowers are borne from September to November and are followed by brilliant red, sticky fruit in yellow-green capsules, that attracts birds.
A beautiful garden tree, which can be grown in sun or semi-shade, and can be used in forest and bush clumps as well as being used as a hedge plant. Wonderful shade tree, and with its non-aggressive root system is ideal for small gardens and containers.
Size 3 to 10m
Podocarpus elongatus is the smallest of the Yellowwood trees and is very hardy and evergreen.
It has attractive narrow, blue-green leaves and is slow growing.
The female cones develop into fleshy, bright red, edible fruits with 1 or 2 seeds that mature rapidly.
Ptaeroxylon obliquum is hardy, drought resistant, medium sized to large, fairly fast growing and evergreen or deciduous (depending on the conditions).
Pterocarpus rotundifolius is a fairly hardy, decorative, multi-stemmed small to medium sized, deciduous tree that grows naturally in Bushveld and on rocky hillsides.
Rapanea melanophloes is a hardy, small to medium sized, evergreen tree with dark leaves that have a purplish cast to them. It also has really attractive bark.
The small greenish-white flowers from May to July attract insects and bees.
Rothmannia capensis is a hardy, evergreen, small to medium sized tree.
Leucosidea sericea is a decorative, very hardy, evergreen, fast growing, low branching small, tree with aromatic leaves that have silvery hairs.
The yellowish-green flowers that are borne from August to December are sticky with nectar and held in candle-like spikes. The flowers attract many insects with their pollen and nectar.
It has attractive, dark, fissured, peeling stem bark. One can make the most of this by pruning them up to have clean stems or trunks and lower branches. It makes a beautiful specimen tree in a small garden.
Requires regular watering or plant in damp areas to keep it looking good.
Aristada junciformis is a handsome, very hardy, thick tufted grass with copious wispy seed heads that sway beautifully in the wind.
The seeds persist on the plant for an extended period from November. to May, and the culms are slow to yellow with the onset of winter, making this a good landscape grass.
A particularly good species for providing habitat for Vlei Rats and other grassland or wetland wildlife. Will grow well in wet, clay soil, as well as under normal garden conditions.
It is also well utilized in the making of brooms.
Size up to 60cm
Tinnea barbata is a pretty but little-known shrub that deserves a lot more attention as a great garden subject.
It is evergreen with dark bluish-green leaves that are slightly hairy, and paler underneath. Tinnea is considered semi-hardy (probably frost tolerant due to it's high altitude natural habitat). It bears many blueish purple flowers that hang from the branches like little jewels.
Tinnea should be pruned to keep a neat shape, as its natural growth habit is to climb or scramble over other plants.
semi-shade in well composted soil.
Chloris gayana is a hardy, evergreen very leafy tufted perennial grass.
It has finger-like (digitate) flowering heads from November to May.
Halleria elliptica is a hardy evergreen shrub, with very showy, orange-red, broadly tubular flowers in summer and winter.
The olive green foliage turns purple in winter which contrasts beautifully with the orange-red flowers.
Aloe ciliaris is a hardy, climbing Aloe with stems climbing up to 5m if they are supported, but otherwise makes a lovely, clump forming sprawling shrub.
The leaves are in loose rosettes around the stem and fringed with white hairs.
Aloe cryptopoda wickensii is a hardy Aloe that has a single, large stemless, densely packed rosette of grey-green succulent leaves.
The flowers are variable and may be red, yellow or bi-coloured, with yellow and red flowers. Depending on conditions, flowering time can vary between May and July.
This popular, easy garden plant provides a spectacular display when in full flower.
Lantana rugosa is a hardy, evergreen, much branched perennial shrub with rough stems and leaves.The leaves are small (the drier the conditions, the smaller the leaves), bright green and aromatic when crushed. Little clusters of pinky purple flowers are borne from September to May, and are followed by clustered, juicy, purple fruit. An excellent addition to the wildlife garden.
The flowers attract many pollinating insects, including butterflies. The fruit is eaten by people, monkeys and birds. It has a number of traditional medicinal uses.
Plant in well drained soil, and full sun to semi shade. It will flower and fruit best in full sun, but the more shade and water it receives, the larger the leaves will be. Prune well after flowering for it to maintain a good shape, otherwise it can become scraggly.
Size up to 1.5m
Gardenia cornuta is a small, evergreen, decorative tree. It is multi-stemmed with grey-green mottled bark on erect, stiff branches.
The leaves are clustered at the ends of the hard twigs, and are shiny light green with wavy margins.
Scented, star-like white flowers adorn the tree from December to March, making it a sight to behold. They fade to creamy yellow as they get older.
These are followed by oval woody fruit that turn yellow. The fruit is eaten by monkeys when it is young, and nyala also relish the fruit.
Plant in a spot that is protected from frost, in sun or very light, dappled shade.
Size up to 5m
Turraea floribunda is a hardy, small, deciduous tree with a rounded crown of olive-green leaves that have distinct herringbone design veins.
It drops its leaves in early spring and then the clusters of sweetly scented, large white flowers are borne in profusion along the bare stems (September to November).
The beautiful green and white Honeysuckle-type flowers adorning the tree are a sight to behold and the scent is divine.
The pretty red seeds are borne on large woody star-shaped pods.
It is an important host tree for butterflies and moths and attracts many sunbirds and seed eating birds to the garden.
This attractive tree is ideal for a small garden. Plant in well-drained, compost rich soil. Grows best in full sun.
Size 3 to 5m
Orthosiphon labiatus is a very hardy, semi-deciduous, fast growing shrub. It forms a much branched rounded shrub with aromatic, heart-shaped leaves.
From mid-summer to early winter it is covered in spikes of pinky-mauve tubular flowers that are irresistible to a number of insect pollinators. Butterflies especially enjoy the flowers.
Pruning it back in early spring encourages flowering. Ideal for smaller spaces, plant in sun or semi-shade.
Plant in well-composted soil, and although extremely drought hardy, watering well will keep it at its best.
Size to 1.5m
Cenchrus ciliaris is a tufted, shrubby perennial grass with bright green to blue-green leaves that are up to a metre long.
The grass culms are jointed, and roots often arise at these joints or nodes.
The flower spikes are bristly and cat-tail like, carried on stalks just above the leaves.
Plectranthus hereroensis is a hardy, attractive, fast growing, evergreen but short-lived shrub. It's broad, bright green leaves contrast beautifully with darker foliage planted behind it.
It is a particularly floriferous shrub, and if pruned regularly will bush out with many flowering stems. The deep bluish-purple flowers are borne in long tapered spikes from about April through to the end of May.
It is a host plant to a number of butterfly species, and an attractive food plant to bees and other insects.
This shrub will flower and grow best in full sun, which is unusual for most Plectranthus species. Plant in well-drained soil, and add plenty of compost for healthy plants.
If left unpruned, it can grow to 2m.
A most worthwhile addition to any garden, as it's lovely blue flowers contrast beautifully with other colourful plants flowering at this time of the year.
Some examples are Leonotis leonurus and some Aloe species, as well as Syncholostemon densiflorus and Euryops pectinatus. Although very drought hardy, it is suitable for gardens where frost is not too severe.
Plectranthus hereroensis is being investigated further for compounds found in its roots that have shown anti-bacterial activity.
Occurs in hilly terrain in sandy, dry savannah.
Size: up to 2m, but generally about 1m
Lippia javanica is a very hardy, evergreen, erect, small shrub with aromatic leaves.
Polygala myrtifolia "Riviersonderend" has narrow almost needle-like leaves. This is a hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant shrub.
The magenta flowers are borne in lax terminal heads throughout summer and autumn, and attract Carpenter Bees, butterflies and other tiny, pollinating insects to the garden. The seeds are relished by Laughing Doves.
This graceful form is an ideal alternative for the garden that is too small for the large tree-like form of the Polygala myrtifolia. It makes a beautiful, floriferous screening plant. A useful garden and container plant.
Prune lightly and regularly.
Plant in well-drained soil in a sunny or lightly shaded position.
Size: 1m up to 2m
Karomia speciosa (= Holmskioldia speciosa) is a hardy, deciduous, sparsely-branched shrub or small tree with smooth, pale-grey bark.
Aloe reitzii is a very hardy, robust, stemless Aloe that can withstand extreme winters.It grows in a small area across three provinces. It has a single rosette of greyish, blue-green,fleshy leaves with reddish-brown teeth, mostly along their margins.
Spectacular spikes of brilliant, red, tubular flowers are born in late summer (February to March). The flowers are bright-red above and lemon-yellow below. One flowering spike appears in young plants, but as they mature, more flowering spikes are produced. The nectar- and pollen-rich flowers attract many pollinating insects as well as Sunbirds.
A striking accent plant for a succulent or grassland garden.
Plant in well-drained soil, in full sun.
Size: up to 90 m
Crassula multicava 'Purple' is a hardy, evergreen, mat-forming, broad-leaved succulent plant. The leaves are purple on the underside, making this an attractive, colourful plant all year round, even when not in flower.
From May to November it bears many sprays of dainty, star-shaped, pink flowers that attract a whole host of tiny insects.
Crassula tetragona is a hardy, evergreen, succulent shrub with rows of bright-green, sword-shaped leaves.These are evenly arranged in crossed, opposite pairs along the stems, which are held upright in a vertical position.
In summer and early autumn, it bears masses of tiny, creamy-white flowers in an inflorescence carried above the shrub.
The compact, upright habit makes this an attractive plant.Makes a beautiful bonsai, or container plant in drier spots in the garden.
Plant in sun or semi-shade.
Size: up to 1m
Pelargonium salmoneum is an evergreen, extremely drought hardy, semi-succulent Pelargonium which has yellowish green leaves.
As its name suggests, the flowers are a bright, salmon pink. They are held above the leaves on a flowering stalk that bears up to 20 flowers. Peak flowering times are between June and December.
It makes an excellent container plant and does very well in open ground in the garden as well. It is the perfect height as a "mid-shrub", to plant taller shrubs behind it and shorter bedding plants in the front.
Size up to 75cm
Zanthoxylum capense is a hardy, deciduous to semi-deciduous small to medium-sized tree, with smooth, dark grey bark and broad, cone-shaped knobs that are topped with a short spine. The leaves are divided into leaflets, that are shiny and dark green above, and paler beneath. When crushed they are somewhat brittle and have a strong Citrus scent.
From October to February, the tiny, white, scented flowers are clustered at the ends of the branches. The male and female flowers are borne on separate trees. Female trees develop clusters of tiny orange-red fruits that split to release oil-rich black seeds. The fruit is edible but cause a burning sensation in the mouth.
Both flowers and fruit attract many insects and birds to the garden. It is a host plant to the Citrus Swallowtail and other Swallowtail Butterflies. This tree is widely used in traditional medicine remedies, and the wood is used for implements.
It makes an excellent container plant, or part of a forest garden or plant singly as a specimen tree to prune up and expose the interesting, knobbly stem.
Plant in semi-shade or full sun, in well-drained, compost rich soil.
Size: 2 to 15m
Ochna serrulata is a hardy, small, semi-deciduous shrub with glossy, mirror-like leaves that flush red in spring.
The profuse, bright yellow, scented flowers are borne from September to December.
The flowers are short lived but are followed by black fruit on an enlarged red calyx that looks like a flower and persists on the shrub for months.
As with Ochna natalitia this plant deserves pride of place in any garden. The seeds attract birds to the garden.
Ficus abutilifolia is a hardy, deciduous, small to medium sized fig tree that has beautiful, large, heart-shaped leaves.
Portulacaria afra is a hardy, evergreen, neatly shaped, small tree or shrub with pretty round, succulent leaves and ruby red branches.
The leaves have a pleasant acid flavour and can be used in salads.
From October to January, after rain, it is covered in clear pink to rosy mauve, nectar rich flowers - a wonderful sight. The papery 3-winged ornamental fruits resemble pinkish lanterns.
Plant in well-drained soil in sun or shade.
Useful for binding soil.
Seasia (=Rhus) pyroides is a very hardy, deciduous, drought-resistant tree that tolerates extreme conditions of drought and cold and makes a wonderful pioneer. Depending on how harsh the conditions are it can grow anything from 1m in very dry cold conditions and up to 6m in more temperate conditions.
Large, stout, woody thorns are borne along the stems which make this a good addition to a security hedge. The bark on mature stems is dark brown. It has attractive, velvety, light grey-green, trifoliate leaves that turn a lovely shade of yellow in autumn.
The inconspicuous sprays of tiny white flowers are borne from August to March, and attract insects and birds. These are followed by a profusion of large attractive bunches of edible fruit that turn reddish brown. They are so heavy that they make the tips of the thin branchlets droop, giving the female plants a ‘weeping’ shape when in fruit.
Only female plants bear fruit as male and female flowers are on separate plants. The profusion of fruit attracts birds to the garden. In fact, I battle to collect seeds on the many specimens on the farm as the birds seem to beat me to them most of the time.
It is the host plant to the Foxtrot Copper butterfly. In natural areas elephant, impala and kudu browse on the tree. For cattle farmers, it makes a useful fodder tree.
Plant in sun or semi-shade.
Size: 2 to 6m
Acacia brevispica (=Senegalia brevispica) is a hardy, semi-deciduous, robust, prickly, scrambling Acacia that can be trained into a large beautiful shrub.
It has feathery, large, soft, bipinnate leaves with small hook thorns along the ribs on the underside.
Hypoestes aristata white is a hardy, evergreen, small to medium sized, rounded shrub with grey-green leaves that have lighter veins giving them a variegated look.
It bears abundant spikes of 2-lipped white flowers in the middle of winter, from March to August, when very little else is in flower.
The flowers attract butterflies and other insects to the garden which is a boon to the insect eating birds.
Bolusanthus speciosus is a hardy, graceful, briefly deciduous, drought resistant tree with graceful grey-green almost weeping foliage.
The huge, pendulous bunches of beautiful mauve pea-like flowers that are born in September and October are truly spectacular.
Aristea ecklonii is hardy, evergreen, clump-forming, perennial bulbous plant with narrow, strap-like, slightly pleated leaves that are carried in a fan.
It bears flowering stems of amazing pale to deep mauve-blue flowers from August to March. There is a white flowered form grown at Random Harvest nursery (see gallery of pictures).
It requires morning sun as the flowers open in succession early in the day and close in the afternoon.
It grows best in moist conditions near ponds or well-watered areas.
Noltea africana is a very hardy, evergreen, very fast growing, small to medium sized tree.
The glossy leaves are darker above and paler underneath, and have purple petioles. The branchlets are also purplish-red.
The flowers are pretty, small, white sprays borne in the axils of the leaves from August to September. The black seeds are encased in a three-lobed, brown woody capsule that splits to release them when ripe.
A decorative tree that is ideal for the smaller garden but should be kept as a single stem.
Grows well in sun and semi-shade.
Diascia ‘Hybrids’ is a hardy, evergreen, bushy, drought-resistant, perennial groundcover with fine round leaves.
This hybrid bears spikes of flowers in profusion, ranging in colour from white, pink, orange and through to red.The flowers are borne mainly from August to March but it does bear some flowers all year round.
Beautiful planted along the edges of beds, in containers and in amongst small grasses.
Plant in full sun in well-drained soil and do not overwater.Prune lightly on a regular basis to keep it flowering.
Size: 15 to 25cm
Cyphostemma juttae is a hardy, deciduous, short, thickset, succulent shrub.
It has a huge swollen trunk with yellow-green bark that peels off in whitish sheets. This is a strategy to reflect the heat away from the plant and keep it cool, as it grows naturally in very hot exposed positions. It has very attractive large, succulent, blue-green leaves.
Inconspicuous small greenish cream flowers are followed by bunches of decorative fruits that turn from bright red to purplish-black and resemble grapes from December to January.
It makes an unusual and stunning container plant – a real talking point.
This magnificent ornamental plant needs a warm sunny position in the rockery, where it should receive very little water in winter and not too much in summer. The soil should be light and loamy with sand added to improve drainage.
Size: Up to 2m
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
Allophylus dregeanus is an attractive small tree or large shrub with beautiful dark, glossy leaves and greyish bark which wrinkles with age.
In autumn and winter, it bears spikes of sweetly scented white flowers followed by profuse, edible shiny red berries.
These features seem to glow in the shade where it thrives.
Up to 6 metres