Search Indigenous Plant Attributes

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  1. Clivia gardenii

    Clivia gardenii is a hardy, fairly slow growing perennial with dark, strap-shaped leaves.

    It sends out side shoots to form quite large clumps.

  2. Dracaena mannii

    Dracaena mannii is a hardy, evergreen small to medium-sized tree with long, linear leaves that are clustered at the tips of the branches. This growth habit makes it a wonderful form plant.

    In September and October, it bears spikes of sweetly scented, pure-white to cream flowers at the tips of the branches. The scented flowers open at night implying that they are moth pollinated. These are followed by large brown berries that, as they ripen, become bright-orange and then red.

    This is another attractive feature of a stunning plant as is the white papery bark. Birds relish the seeds.They also make beautiful container plants.

    Plant in shady areas in the garden to create some form.

    Size: up to 5m

  3. Gymnosporia harveyana

    Gymnosporia harveyana is a hardy, evergreen, spiny shrub that is densely leafy and has long, slender, straight spines. The beautiful, glossy, dark-green foliage is a distinctive feature of this plant.

    From October to May it bears clusters of small, white flowers that attract insects. These are followed by white berries on slender stalks. From November to June the berries turn ruby-red and adorn the tree. When these split, birds are attracted to the food source.

    As it is either in flower or fruit all year round it is a great addition to a wildlife garden.

    It has many uses – it can be pruned to form a small tree, trimmed into a formal hedge, left as an informal hedge or planted in a security barrier. It also makes a beautiful container and accent plant.

    This stunning plant grows in deep or filtered shade. Plant in shade to semi-shade, in compost-rich, well-drained soil and give it moderate water.

    Size: 1 to 4m

  4. Ficus sur

    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

  5. Cussonia sphaerocephala

    Cussonia sphaerocephala is a fast-growing, evergreen, fairly hardy tree.It is tall and sparsely branched, with each branch bearing its own small spherical crown of leaves. The large, shiny, leathery, attractive leaves are red when they first appear, darken to bronze and then to dark green. The greenish flowers appear between March and June and are densely packed on thick spikes that form compact umbels. The masses of purplish-black fruit that follow are small and fleshy and attract birds to the garden.

    This very decorative tree is suitable for large, sheltered, shady gardens and makes a good container plant.

    Do not plant Cussonia near walls, pools, pipes or paving as they have an aggressive root system.

    Size 15 to 20m.

  6. Turraea obtusifolia

    Turraea obtusifolia is a hardy, semi-evergreen to briefly-deciduous scrambling shrub or small tree.  It tends to be more of a scrambler in shady conditions.  The leaves are a beautiful, dark glossy green.  It bears masses of very showy, pure white, star-shaped flowers that flush on and off all summer. They are pollinated by moths. The fruit looks like a green miniature pumpkin and, in late summer, as they ripen they split to reveal pretty orange-red seeds. The orange seed coat attracts birds to the garden, which disperse the seeds.

    Use as a scrambler over rocks, as a container plant or focal point in the garden. This plant is a little slow-growing but its beauty makes it a worthwhile choice.

    Plant in sun or semi-shade in well-drained soil and water well in summer.

    Size: 1 to 3m

  7. Lannea discolor

    Lannea discolor is a fairly hardy, deciduous tree with a lovely, rounded crown. The dark grey bark that cracks into blocks and peels off is an attractive feature of this tree. The bicoloured foliage is green above and grey beneath.

    From September to October, the translucent, sweetly-scented creamy-yellow flowers are clustered at the tips of the branchlets and attract insects to the garden. The flowers are borne on the leafless tree which is particularly attractive. These are followed by conspicuous green fruits that turn purple when ripe. The fruits are edible and attract birds and other wildlife.

    In nature, this tree is often associated with termite mounds. Used in traditional medicine and the wood is used to make fence posts.

    Plant in well-drained soil in a protected position. Will do well in sun or semi-shade.

    Size: up to 15m

  8. Euphorbia ingens

    Euphorbia ingens is a hardy, massive, tree-like succulent with a dense crown and a dark green stem. The branches have 4 wing-like angles with spines on the wing margins. The plant is shaped like a hot-air balloon. The yellow-green flowers are clustered around the spines from April to July and attract bees, butterflies and insects and are followed by reddish to purple fruit, which are relished by birds.

    Birds will nest in this tree. Hole-nesting birds will nest in dead sections. This very drought-resistant tree makes a good container plant or accent plant in a succulent garden but must have well-drained soil.

    Where the tree is damaged it will exude milky sap which is poisonous and can cause extreme skin irritation. This plant has many traditional and medicinal uses.

    Plant in sun to semi-shade, in extremely well drained soil.

    Size: up to 7,5m

  9. Cussonia zuluensis

    Cussonia zuluensis is a fairly hardy, evergreen, small, sparsely branched, multi-stemmed tree with leathery, glossy, dark green leaves. New growth flushes purplish-red. The umbels of greenish-yellow flowers appear from September to February and are followed by fleshy, mauve, goblet-shaped fruit which are relished by birds.

    A decorative tree for the garden and containers. Plant in a protected corner in shady or semi-shade conditions, in well drained soil.

    Do not plant Cussonia near walls, pools, pipes or paving as they have an aggressive root system.

    Size: Up to 4m

  10. Dovyalis zeyheri

    Dovyalis zeyheri is a hardy, deciduous, small to medium-sized, tree with spines on the young branches. The tree is very decorative with interesting grey-green foliage. The leaves have a distinctive pungent smell. The spines make this a good addition to a security hedge. From December to March it has small greenish-yellow flowers, followed by bright orange, edible but sour fruit that make a delicious jelly. Male and female flowers are on separate trees, therefore only female plants will bear fruit.

    A great bird tree, as the flowers attract insects which, in turn, attract birds as do the fruits.

    Plant in sun or semi-shade.

    Size: 2 to 13m

  11. Dovyalis rhamnoides

    Dovyalis rhamnoides is a fairly hardy, evergreen bushy shrub or slender small tree with grey bark. 

    Long, very sharp, slender spines are massed on the branches.

  12. Dovyalis caffra

    Dovyalis caffra is a hardy, evergreen, fast growing, drought resistant, large, shrub or small tree. 

    Long spines make it an excellent addition to a security hedge. 

    It has small, creamy-green, nectar laden flowers from November to January. 

    The edible, plum-like, yellow fruits are rich in vitamin C are refreshing and make a delicious jelly preserve. 

    They are also much sought after by birds. 

    Plant in sun or semi-shade.

  13. Kraussia floribunda

    Kraussia floribunda is a fairly hardy, evergreen, scrambling shrub or small tree with beautiful dark green, glossy foliage. The profuse clusters of delicate creamy-white, scented flowers are borne from October to January. It then bears sweet tasting, edible, purple fruits that the birds love. Butterflies are attracted to the sweet nectar in the flowers. It is also the host of the Pellucid Hawk Moth with its lovely transparent wings.

    This is an attractive element of a forest garden. It can be pruned it into a lovely small, glossy-leafed tree, keep it as a shrub or even trim it into an attractive informal hedge. It also makes an attractive container plant.

    Plant in semi-shade or shade in compost rich soil.

    Size: 2 to 6m

  14. Apodytes dimidiata

    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.

  15. Carissa macrocarpa Variegated Green Carpet

    Carissa macrocarpa Variegated Green Carpet is a hardy, evergreen, drought resistant, dense, spiny, dwarf spreading shrublet. This particular variety has leathery, striking dark green and yellow variegated, 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.

    This versatile 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