Search Indigenous Plant Attributes

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  1. Pappea capensis

    Pappea capensis is a hardy, evergreen, very attractive, small to medium sized, neatly shaped, dense tree.

  2. 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.

  3. Aponogeton distachyos

    Aponogeton distachyos is a fast growing aquatic herb with glossy oblong leaves that float on the waters surface. 

    Sweetly scented, edible flowers stand up out of the water above the leaves, attracting attention. The flower is interesting in that it is a forked inflorescence bearing tiny, white, one-petalled flowers with brown anthers.

    Bees are very attracted to the flowers and may be one of the main pollinators. Waterblommetjies flower in profusion during winter and spring. Large areas of water in the Western, Southern and Eastern Cape are covered with their sweetly scented, white flowers.

    An excellent plant for ponds and dams, although where growing conditions are good, it needs cutting back and splitting to keep it from taking over. Rhizomes can be lifted in autumn and divided. Replant them immediately in good soil, in shallow water, and as they begin to grow in summer they can be moved into deeper water.

    Plant in pots, in good soil, and place in full sun to partial shade for some of the day.

    This is a well known local delicacy for the cold winter months. It has become so popular that many commercial plantings have been made in ponds around the western Cape. Cooked with onions, mutton or lamb and a few leaves of the local sorrel/suring (Oxalis pes-caprae), it makes a delicious stew.



  4. Lantana rugosa

    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

  5. Tulbaghia violacea

    Tulbaghia violacea is a very hardy, evergreen, tuft forming bulbous plant, with semi-succulent, strap-like, grey-green leaves that are garlic scented when bruised.

    Long stalks carrying umbels of delicate lilac to pink flowers are borne mainly from January to April. It will however bloom on and off almost all year in cultivation.

    The flowers are sweetly scented at night and make excellent cut flowers. Use in the garden as a companion plant, particularly to deter aphids.

    When sitting outside whack some of the leaves on your table or chair and this will deter flies and mosquitoes.

    Used medicinally. It can also be used as a garlic substitute in salads, soups and stews. The flowers are a decorative addition to a salad.

    An excellent groundcover for difficult areas as it can thrive in very poor soils and with very little watering.

  6. Jasminum multipartitum

    Jasminum multipartitum is a very hardy, evergreen, fast-growing creeper or scrambler with small, glossy, dark-green foliage.

    It bears masses of fragrant, white (with deep pink undersides), star-shaped flowers, from August to January.

  7. Asparagus laricinus

    Asparagus laricinus is a very hardy, evergreen, shrubby Asparagus with fine, feathery foliage and silvery, zigzag branchlets.

    It has a myriad of tiny, white, nectar-rich flowers in spring and summer that are fragrant and attract insects and birds.

  8. Hypoestes aristata

    Hypoestes aristata 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 that are densely packed with 2-lipped deep purple flowers with darker purple spots 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.

  9. Carpobrotus muirii

    Carpobrotus muirii is a hardy, evergreen, succulent, drought-resistant, spreading groundcover that has narrow, triangular-shaped, fleshy leaves.

    It bears large, vygie-like, purple flowers in spring and summer (August. to February).The large fruits are edible and used in curries, jams and preserves.

    This plant provides habitat for lizards and toads, attracts butterflies and is good tortoise food.It also has many medicinal uses.This plant is becoming increasingly rare due to habitat destruction.It is useful for retaining soil on exposed embankments and for soil stabilisation as it grows fast and roots at the nodes.

    Although this is a Western Cape plant it grows well in Gauteng.Plant in well-drained soil in full sun.

    Size: 15cm

  10. Anchusa capensis

    Anchusa capensis is a drought hardy annual or bi-annual that grows vigorously, is upright, and has bright green, rough leaves and stems. It has a fairly weedy appearance.

    The stems of brilliant blue flowers are borne throughout Spring and Summer and into Autumn. Each little blue flower is beautiful when looked at closely. They have a white feathery centre (these are actually scales that protect the reproductive parts of the flower).

  11. Carissa macrocarpa Green Carpet

    Carissa macrocarpa "Green Carpet" is a hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant, dense, spiny, dwarf spreading shrublet with leathery, dark-green, glossy leaves.

    It has beautiful, quite large, scented, white flowers and large edible red fruits on and off throughout the year.

    It attracts butterflies and fruit-eating birds to the garden. The fruits make a delicious jelly that is sold as ‘Amatungulu Jelly’. This useful plant can be used to cover large areas or clipped into an attractive small formal hedge. It also looks great in a container.

    Erect shoots should be clipped to keep the dwarf habit. Plant in shade, semi-shade or sun, in well-drained, well-composted soil.

    Size: up to 40cm

  12. Mentha longifolia

    Mentha longifolia is a hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, perennial herb which grows in damp areas and has long, thin, bright-green leaves with slightly serrated margins. When crushed they are strongly mint-scented.

    It has slender spikes of white to pale-mauve flowers from December to February. It is an essential element of a butterfly garden and also attracts other pollinating insects and thus insectiverous birds to the garden.

    Makes a delicious herbal tea and can be added to cordials and other cold drinks.

    Excellent for moist areas of the garden or wetland features. It spreads rapidly, so cut off excess shoots and prune regularly to keep in shape. Although it does best in full sun it tolerates a little light shade.

    Size: up to 1m

  13. Carissa edulis

    Carissa edulis is a hardy, much-branched, evergreen, fast growing shrub or climber that has glossy, leathery leaves, which are sometimes hairy and have red growing tips. The hard rigid spines are almost always single.

    Masses of beautiful, white flowers tinged with pink appear from September to December. These are followed by edible fruit that turns purplish-black when ripe, and because it is so sweet and juicy, makes a good jam or jelly.

    The fruits attract birds to the garden.

    It makes a good hedging plant, whether pruned to keep compact or left to grow freely. It needs to be controlled in a smaller garden but can be allowed to grow wild if you have the space where it will scramble through the trees.

    Can be grown in semi-shade, but prefers full sun and flowers more profusely in the sun.

    Size 1 to 3m

  14. Vangueria infausta

    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.

  15. Dovyalis longispina

    Dovyalis longispina is a hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous shrub or small to medium-sized tree with glossy, dark-green, roundish, shiny leaves. The new growth is red.

    The small whitish-yellow flowers appear in clusters from August to October  Male and female flowers are on separate plants, therefore only female plants will bear fruit. The leaves drop during flowering but new leaves re-appear immediately.

    The delicious, edible fruit is a beautiful pale red with white spots (they look a lot like strawberries).

    The long, thin spines make this an ideal plant for a security hedge, but it is also an attractive garden plant. Attracts birds to the garden.

    Plant in full sun or semi-shade in sandy or well-drained soil.

    Size: 5 to 8m

  16. Strychnos madagascariensis

    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

  17. Grewia lasiocarpa

    Grewia lasiocarpa is a hardy, evergreen, large shrub or small tree with smooth, grey bark and dense foliage. The leaves are large, almost circular, rough-haired above, and densely covered with soft hairs below.

    The attractive, large star-shaped pale pink flowers occur from January to March, followed by 4-lobed, furry, reddish fruit from March to July.

    The fruit attracts birds and, in the wild, warthogs and baboons. These fruits may often remain on the tree for long periods, eventually turning black.

    Although this plant tolerates most climates, it does best in areas of high rainfall. Plant in sun or semi-shade.

    Size up to 3.5m