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.
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.
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.
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
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
Cassinopsis ilicifolia is a hardy, evergreen, decorative large shrub with glossy, bright green leaves and green stems.
The branchlets have a zigzag pattern and single spines.
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
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
Barleria rotundifolia is a hardy, evergreen, fairly fast growing, rambling shrub that has a rounded shape. The spiny branches produce small, shiny green leaves. From December to March it produces yellow tubular flowers, with the four upper lobes of the flower separated from the lower lobe to form an open tube from which 2 stamens and the style protrude. The fruit is a small exploding capsule.
The nectar rich flowers attract pollinating insects (including many butterfly species) and therefore many insectivorous birds to the garden. The many spines make it an effective barrier plant for a security hedge. Plant in clumps in a shady flower bed under trees or in a sunny rockery. Plant in well-drained soil in full sun to semi-shade.
Size up to 1m
Acacia luederitzii var. luederitzii is a very hardy, deciduous, quite slow-growing Acacia that can tolerate harsh conditions as it grows in desert and semi-desert areas. It develops a flat crown, typical of African Acacias, with age. It has fine, feathery, grey-green foliage.
A combination of straight and hooked thorns make this Acacia a formidable security barrier when allowed to branch low and individual plants are planted close together.
The creamy-white puffball flowers are borne from October to February and attract a whole host of insects. The nutritional, elongated, purple-brown pods will split and persist on the tree - another interesting feature.
A perfect Acacia for smaller gardens. Once established it requires very little attention.
Plant in well-drained soil in sun.
Note: in Acacia luederitzii var. retinens, which occurs in Kwazulu Natal, Swaziland and Mozambique, the inflated, paired spines look like miniature buffalo horns and are an interesting feature of this tree. These do not occur in var. luederitzii.
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.
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.
Barleria elegans is a hardy, evergreen small shrub with oval shaped, dark green leaves that are paler beneath. The reduced leaves are hardened and spiny-toothed. Flowers profusely in late summer and autumn (February to July) with clusters of pure white trumpet-shaped flowers. The flowers attract butterflies and pollinating insects to the garden.
It is adaptable in the garden, making a good rockery subject and helps to stabilise the soil on embankments. Due to its thorny nature, it can form an effective barrier.
Prune back after flowering to keep in shape and ensure mass flowering the following year. Can tolerate a light frost. Plant in sun or semi-shade in well drained and well composted soil.
Size: up to 1m