Pterocarpus rotundifolius is a fairly hardy, decorative, multi-stemmed small to medium sized, deciduous tree that grows naturally in Bushveld and on rocky hillsides.
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).
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
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.
Agapanthus inapertus is a very hardy, deciduous Agapanthus has attractive strap-like leaves.
It bears long-stemmed umbels of pendulous, dark blue, tubular flowers from January to March. The colour can vary from white to almost navy blue.
It is tall and erect and will form big clumps.
Grewia occidentalis is a very hardy, fast growing, evergreen shrub with attractive, rough, glossy, quite dark green leaves and trailing stems.
It bears gorgeous star-like pink flowers with a cluster of prominent, bright yellow stamens from October to January
It also bears distinctive, edible fruits that are clustered together in a square or cross shape.
Gloriosa superba is a hardy, deciduous, trailing or scrambling plant with shiny light green leaves that taper to tendrils at the tips, which help it to climb.
It grows from a ‘U’ shaped tuber that is deeply buried.
Bowiea volubilis is a hardy, deciduous, bulbous plant that has two thin, strap-like leaves.
It climbs by means of its large much-branched inflorescence, the branchlets of which grow downwards.
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
Rhoicissus tridentata is a very hardy, deciduous, fast-growing, drought-resistant, vigorous climber or scrambling shrub with attractive, dark-green foliage that turns red in autumn.
The small, greenish-yellow flowers are borne in tight clusters on a densely-hairy inflorescence from November to April. The decorative clusters of edible, red, grape-like berries become black and attract birds to the garden.
It has many medicinal and traditional uses. The trailing stems are lovely in flower arrangements. Ideal for screening on a fence or cascading down a bank. It also makes a good subject for a large hanging basket.
Plant in well-drained soil in sun, semi-shade or shade.
Size: 1 to 3m
Acacia nigrescens (=Senegalia nigrescens) is a hardy, small to large stately deciduous tree is characterised by its knob-studded grey or yellow trunk and branches. The hooked spine-tipped knobs are prevalent on young trees but are less evident on older specimens.
Sweetly-scented spikes of creamy-white flowers are produced from August to November. When in flower this tree is alive and humming with the multitude of insects and birds that feast on the pollen and nectar offered up.
It is an important browse tree for game and generally indicates good ranching land.The graceful, tall canopy attracts Paradise Flycatchers and hole-nesting birds. It is the host plant of the Demon Emperor Butterfly.The wood is very hard and used extensively.
It makes a good bonsai and container subject.It grows in a wide variety of soil types in full sun.
Size: 5 to 18 metres
Acacia nilotica (=Vachellia nilotica) is a hardy, semi-deciduous, small to medium-sized, mushroom shaped tree with dark blackish-brown, fissured bark when mature and a dense crown.This fissured bark is home to many invertebrates and therefore attracts Woodpeckers and other insectivorous birds.
The masses of yellow puffball flowers adorn the tree on and off from September to April.The fragrant, distinctive ‘string of beads,’ decorative pods have a fruity smell and are excellent fodder.The edible gum makes a good quality glue.
Yellow, red or black dye can be made from the pods.The wood is easily worked for furniture and the whole tree has many medicinal and traditional uses This tree is a little slow-growing but is tough and very drought-resistant.
It grows in both well-drained and clayey soils in sun or semi-shade.
Size: 3 to 10 m
Acacia polyacantha (=Senegalia Polyacantha) is a fairly hardy, deciduous tree adds all-year-round beauty to a garden with its seasonal changes, from the pale, creamy, flaking bark on the stems that glow in the winter sunshine, to the spikes of glistening silver flowers in spring.
Added to this is the coolness of the dense bright-green, soft feathery leaves in summer, which turn dull olive-green in autumn before they drop. A truly spectacular tree that is fast-growing.
Paired hooked thorns vary in colour from brown to black and young branches are covered in hairs. The flowers are borne from September to December. Straight, flat brown pods hang on the tree from March to October.
Plant as a single specimen or as a beautiful avenue tree. It is a host to the larvae of various moth species and wood is believed to have both medicinal and magical properties. Protect young plants against frost.
It thrives in both well-drained and clayey soils in sun or semi-shade.
Size: up to 15m
Macledium (=Dicoma) zeyheri is a very hardy, unusual perennial plant with leathery leaves that are white felted below and cobwebby stems.
It bears purplish flowers with spiky silver bracts that are also tinged with purple and look like miniature Proteas from January to May. They are long lasting and make good cut flowers.
The seeds are much favoured by insects.
Plant in a rockery or in a grassland garden. For an unusual talking point, plant in containers.
Plant in well-drained, compost rich soil in sun or semi shade and water well in summer.
Size 15 to 20cm
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.
Erythrina humeana is a hardy, deciduous, fairly fast-growing shrub or small tree with dark olive-green, trifoliate leaves.
The long-lasting, gorgeous, brilliant red, long flower spikes are carried above the leaves on slender stalks.
Zantedeschia albomaculata is a very hardy, deciduous Arum Lily with arrow-shaped leaves that are often spotted.
It has one distinctive, white or cream cone-shaped petal that can be flushed with pink and can have a dark purple base.
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.
Mundulea serica is a very hardy, semi-deciduous, decorative, large shrub that always stands out in its natural habitat of grassland and rock.
The fissured corky bark is a protection against fires which are frequent in its habitat.
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
Ficus sur is a fairly hardy, semi-deciduous, large tree with smooth grey bark. The thin, leathery leaves are dark almost grey-green and paler green beneath which make the tree shimmer in the wind. In spring the new leaves flush the tree with a beautiful coppery colour.
The figs are borne throughout the year on heavy, long branches off the main stems. The figs are, in fact, inverted flowers which bear tiny seeds on the inside. The sweet, edible, insect-filled fruits attract a myriad of birds to the garden.
It has many traditional and medicinal uses.
Do not plant figs near walls, pools, pipes or paving.
Plant in sum, semi-shade or shade in well-composted soil.
Size: 10 to 35m