Searsia chirindensis

Searsia chirindensis

Common Names

Red Currant (english)
Bostaaibos (afrikaans)
Muvhadela-Phanga (venda)
Umhlabamvubu (zulu)
Umhlakothi (xhosa)

Taxonomy

Family ANACARDIACEAE
Genus Searsia
Species chirindensis
SA Plant Number 380
Basionym Searsia chirindensis

Description

Searsia (Rhus) 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). These are followed by heavy bunches of round fleshy, pink to red-brown fruit that attracts birds.They are said to be edible but are sour.

Plant in full sun or semi-shade for a lovely spreading shade tree. It needs regular pruning to maintain its beautiful mushroom shape. If left un-pruned it makes a good addition to a tall shrubby back-planting or screen.

It is used both for furniture and in traditional medicine.

Size 3 to 20m

Wildlife

Birds:

Insect-eating birds visit this tree for the insects that pollinate the flowers. Birds enjoy the fruit of this tree.

Uses

Landscaping:
  • Searsia (Rhus) chirindensis Makes a good spreading shade tree.
  • Useful as a tall, shrubby backdrop in larger gardens.
Traditional:
  • Used in traditional medicine.
  • The wood is used to make furniture

Distribution

Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal,  Eastern Cape, Western Cape
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