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
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
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
Croton sylvaticus is a semi-hardy, occasionally deciduous trees with a dense crown of attractive large, bicoloured leaves that smell of almonds when crushed.
The spikes of creamy coloured flowers are carried long stalks are from September to January. Although the flowers are fairly nondescript they are followed by long bunches of apricot-orange coloured fruit that adorn the tree for many months.
Plant in well-drained soil in a protected position.
The seeds attract birds and it is also an important butterfly host plant.
Size: 7 to 13m