Search Indigenous Plant Attributes

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  1. Acacia caffra

    Acacia caffra (=Senegalia caffra) is a very hardy, deciduous, drought resistant, graceful tree with feathery foliage that gives the tree a weeping shape.

  2. Euclea crispa

    Euclea crispa is a very hardy, drought resistant, small evergreen tree has a white stem and beautiful blue-green or olive-green leaves.

  3. Buddleja saligna

    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.

  4. Gymnosporia buxifolia

    Gymnosporia buxifolia is a very hardy, drought resistant, semi-deciduous, small tree or large shrub. It is armed with formidable long, straight spines.

    Blooms profusely with white flowers that cover the branches from August to March.

  5. Mimusops caffra

    Mimusops caffra is a hardy, medium-sized to large, evergreen tree with a dense neat crown of attractive grey-green leaves.

    This tree tolerates heavy salt spray and this same mechanism allows it to tolerate quite a lot of frost even though it is a plant of the dune forest.

    It bears creamy white flowers from September to December which attract, bees, carpenter bees and sunbirds.

  6. Olinia emarginata

    Olinia emarginata is a very frost-hardy, evergreen small to medium sized tree that can grow into a huge tree in forest situations.

  7. Phoenix reclinata

    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.

  8. Podocarpus falcatus

    Podocarpus falcatus is a large, very hardy, evergreen forest tree. It is the fastest growing of the Yellowwoods.

    The small leathery, narrow, dark green leaves are sometimes slightly sickle-shaped.They often have a greyish bloom to them, making this a beautiful foliage tree, particularly when the light catches the leaves and the grey-green forms "highlights" on parts of the canopy.

    Mature trees have beautiful, dark purplish-brown and flaking bark.

  9. Pterocarpus rotundifolius

    Pterocarpus rotundifolius is a fairly hardy, decorative, multi-stemmed small to medium sized, deciduous tree that grows naturally in Bushveld and on rocky hillsides.

  10. Rapanea melanophloeos

    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.

  11. Rhus chirindensis

    Rhus (Searsia) chirindensis is a hardy, deciduous, fast growing tree that is sometimes multi-stemmed and has a spreading rounded crown. The bark is rough and darker on the mature main stems, and smooth and somewhat shiny on the young stems. Both sometimes have woody spines, but particularly the young stems.

    The large glossy, dark green leaves are tri-foliate and reddish when young and turn beautiful red autumn colours.

    Sprays of small flowers are borne from August to March. (male and female flowers on separate plants, therefore only female plants bear fruit).

  12. Rhus lancea

    Searsia (=Rhus) lancea is a very hardy, evergreen, drought resistant tree with a graceful, weeping form. The dark, fissured bark contrasts beautifully with the long, thin, bright, trifoliate leaves.

    The inconspicuous yellow-green flowers (male and female flowers on separate plants, therefore only female plants bear fruit) from June to September attract insects and are followed by bunches of edible fruit that attract birds. The small flowers are borne in abundance and give the tree a lacy look when in bloom.

    An excellent garden subject that thrives in clay soils and is fast growing if watered regularly. Having said that it is also drought hardy. Extremely popular street tree and a good avenue tree.  Makes a great climbing tree for children if the lower branches are not pruned off.

    Plant in sun or semi-shade in virtually any soil type.

     Size up to 8m

  13. Rhus leptodictya

    Rhus leptodictya is a very hardy, evergreen, drought resistant, small, decorative tree with a drooping crown of bright green foliage. The bark on young stems is reddish brown, becoming darker and rougher as the tree matures. The lovely reddish wood is used to make beautiful small pieces of furniture.

    The inconspicuous flowers (male and female flowers on separate plants, therefore only female plants bear fruit) are borne from January to April.

  14. Rhus pendulina

    Rhus pendulina is a very hardy, very fast growing, drought resistant, semi-deciduous shade tree with a willow-like habit. The leaves are a dull green and bark is light grey-brown and smooth on young branches, becoming rough and scaly as the branches mature.

    The sprays of inconspicuous flowers (male and female flowers on separate plants, therefore only female plants bear fruit) that attract insects are borne from September to January These are followed by bunches of fruit that attract birds.

    Do not plant near walls, pools, pipes or paving as it has an aggressive shallow root system.

    This is not a particularly long lived tree but is useful as a quick growing screening tree. Interplant with a longer living tree to ensure a permanent screen.

    It throws pretty, delicately dappled shade.

    Size up to 10m

  15. Leucosidea sericea

    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.

  16. Ehretia rigida

    Ehretia rigida is a very hardy, deciduous, drought resistant, attractive shrub with an interesting shape.

  17. Freylinia lanceolata

    Freylinia lanceolata is a very hardy, evergreen, fast growing, graceful shrub with a lovely weeping shape. The long, drooping lanceolate leaves add to the shape.

  18. Grewia flava

    Grewia flava is a hardy, medium sized, drought resistant, deciduous shrub with blue green foliage with an asymmetrical base.

    It bears abundant, yellow, scented, star-shaped flowers from October to March. When this compact shrub is in full flower it is a sight to behold.

    The flowers are followed by 2 lobed, edible fruit that are irresistible to birds.

  19. Plumbago auriculata White

    Plumbago auriculata white is a hardy, scrambling, much branched, evergreen shrub.

    It bears masses of edible, white Phlox-like flowers on and off all year round.

    It is an important butterfly host plant and attracts both butterflies and birds to the garden. 

    A popular garden and hedging plant that is also suitable for covering banks.

    Prune regularly to keep smaller and in shape as it can get quite wild.

  20. Plumbago auriculata Blue

    Plumbago auriculata blue is a hardy, scrambling, much branched, evergreen shrub.

    It bears masses of edible, sky-blue Phlox-like flowers on and off all year round.

    It is an important butterfly host plant and attracts both butterflies and birds to the garden.

  21. Polygala myrtifolia

    Polygala myrtifolia is a hardy, large, evergreen shrub with glossy green leaves.

    It bears abundant, mauve pea-like flowers almost all year round with a flush in late winter.

    It makes a decorative small tree if pruned into a standard and makes a beautiful floriferous screening plant. It can also be pruned into a formal hedge.

    Attracts Carpenter Bees to the garden.

    The seeds are relished by laughing doves and other seed-eating birds.

    Grows in sun or semi-shade but flowers best in full sun and makes an excellent container plant.

    Size 1 to 4m 

  22. Portulacaria afra

    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.

  23. Psychotria capensis

    Psychotria capensis is a fairly hardy, evergreen shrub or small tree that is nicely shaped with leathery, glossy leaves.

    It is a great foliage plant.

  24. Rhamnus prinoides

    Rhamnus prinoides is a very hardy, evergreen, very fast growing, large shrub with beautiful glossy almost mirror-like leaves.

    The small inconspicuous greenish-yellow flowers are borne all year round and attract insects. 

    The black berries which follow provide food for fruit eating birds almost all year round.

  25. Bauhinia tomentosa

    Bauhinia tomentosa is a hardy, fast growing, drought resistant, deciduous, scandent shrub with deeply lobed leaves, like butterfly wings.

    It bears masses of lemon yellow, bell-like flowers with a purple blotch at the base of one petal and flowers throughout summer.

    Plant in full sun or partial shade.

  26. Rhus pyroides

    Rhus (Searsia) pyroides is a very hardy, deciduous, drought-resistant tree that tolerates extreme conditions of drought and cold and makes a wonderful pioneer.

  27. Miscanthus capensis

    Miscanthus capensisis a very hardy, evergreen, clump-forming, large grass that has beautiful autumn colours.

    The flowering stalks are topped with plumes of pink seed-heads in late summer and early autumn. The clumps of leaves are about 1m tall and the flowering stalks are up to 2m tall.

    Weavers choose this grass above other plants for nesting material. They use the leaves to weave the nest and the seed to line it.

    Use as a backdrop to a garden bed or as a screening plant in narrow beds. It is effective planted as a single, sculptural, feature plant in a garden. Plant into window-box type containers where they can be used as a screen on a balcony. This tall grass is beautiful moving in the lightest of breezes in the garden.

    As with all grasses, to keep it healthy, it should be cut back once a year and raked to remove the thatch. Plant in sun or semi-shade in damp or normal garden conditions.

    Size: Flowering stem up to 2m

  28. Volkameria glabra

    Volkameria glabra (=Clerodendrum glabrum)  is a very hardy, semi-deciduous, fast-growing, small tree or large shrub with a dense crown. It has shiny, dark-green leaves that are pungent when crushed.

    From December to June it bears profuse, dense clusters of white to pinkish flowers that have long stamens. In some specimens the flowers are wonderfully scented, whilst in others the scent can be pungent.These are followed by tightly packed yellowish-white berries that attract birds to the garden.

    An important host plant of moths and butterflies – an absolute must for a butterfly garden. The flowers also attract a whole host of pollinating insects and the nectar in the flowers is an important food source for bees.

    It is extensively used for medicinal and traditional purposes.

    Plant in sun or semi-shade in well-composted soil.

    Size: 2 to 6m

  29. Maytenus undata

    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

  30. Buddleja auriculata

    Buddleja auriculata is a very hardy, beautiful, evergreen shrub with a weeping habit and beautiful black-green glossy leaves that are white on the underside.

    It bears fragrant lilac and white flowers with an orange centre and flowers profusely in large sprays in July and August.

    It can be planted as a specimen but needs some pruning to keep it in shape.

  31. Hyparrhenia tamba

    Hyparrhenia tamba is a very hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, impressive, tall grass with blue, almost turquoise, leaves and thick stems.

    They also display beautiful colours of yellow and red as they mature, when planted in full sun. The tangled flower- and seed-heads also have a turquoise hue and are borne from January to June.

    Plant in containers, or as a backdrop to a grassland garden. It is beautiful planted in pots as a screen on balcony gardens or in small gardens. It is also useful as a soil stabilizer, especially in damp areas.

    Plant in sun or light semi-shade areas. This grass should be cut back every two or three years and raked to remove the thatch.

    Size: 2 to 2.5m

  32. Virgilia oroboides

    Virgilia oroboides is a hardy, evergreen beautiful tree with smooth, silver-grey bark in young trees that becomes grey and rough with age. It has feathery, grey-green, Acacia-like leaves.

    The scented pea-like flowers are pink, and, when the tree is in full flush from January to April, it is a sight to behold. They are rich in nectar and attract many pollinating insects and birds.

    It is the host plant for the Lucerne Blue butterfly – Lampides boeticus.

    As it is so fast-growing, it is an ideal plant for new gardens.

    Plant in sun or light semi-shade, in well-drained soil.

    Size: up to 10m

  33. Podranea ricasoliana

    Podranea ricasoliana is a hardy, evergreen scrambler or climber with lush, bright, compound leaves.

    The masses of gorgeous, large, scented, lilac-pink flowers are borne in loose clusters on and off throughout the year.The flowers attract insects to the garden.

    This fast-growing plant is ideal for covering pergolas, along walls and on embankments.If pruned regularly and kept in shape it makes a great container plant.

    Regular pruning will also ensure that it flowers well the following season.Plant in compost-rich soil but do prune regularly to keep it neat and of a reasonable size.


    Size: 1m or as tall as its support

  34. Buddleja glomerata

    Buddleja glomerata is a very hardy, evergreen, large shrub or small tree with light brown, bark that peels in strings.

  35. Rhus burchellii

    Searsia [=Rhus] burchellii is a very hardy, evergreen, large shrub with dark-brown bark and small, glossy, waxy leaves. The foliage is beautiful and adds texture to the garden.

    It flowers from February to April, with sprays of inconspicuous flowers. Male and female flowers are on separate plants, therefore only female plants bear fruit.

    The flowers attract pollinating insects and therefore insectivorous birds to the garden. The flowers are followed by bunches of reddish-brown fruit. The flowers and fruit attract birds to the garden.

    Use in an informal hedge, as a screen or as an element of a bush clump.If pruned into a standard it makes a lovely small tree.

    This is a really tough, drought-resistant plant for full sun or semi-shade areas.

    Size: up to 3m

  36. Acacia ataxacantha

    Acacia ataxacantha (=Senegalia ataxacantha) is a hardy, deciduous Acacia that can grow as a scrambling shrub or medium sized tree with many hooked prickles. It is drought resistant and fairly fast-growing.

    The fine leaves are either bright green or blue green and are densely hairy.

    It bears spikes of creamy flowers from November to February. These are followed by attractive, flattened deep red to maroon pods.

    The Satyr Charaxes butterfly uses it as a host plant. It is used in traditional medicine, and the wood is split to weave baskets.

    This tree is ideal to plant as a security hedge, as its tangled thorny branches will climb through other plants and create an impenetrable barrier.

    It requires well drained soil and full sun, but can tolerate light, dappled shade to semi-shade.

    Size: 5 to 10m