Search Indigenous Plant Attributes

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  1. Acacia mellifera

    Acacia mellifera (=Senegalia mellifera) is very drought resistant, hardy, thickset, deciduous Acacia with vicious, hook thorns.

  2. Acacia rehmanniana

    Acacia rehmanniana (=Vachellia rehmanniana) is a hardy, drought resistant, semi-deciduous Acacia with small, attractive grey-green, velvety leaves.

    The beautiful red bark on the young stems glows in the sunlight while the mature bark has dark brown rough strips with a red background.

    Try to plant the tree where it either catches the rising or setting sun, when the glowing stems are a sight to behold.

  3. Acacia sieberiana woodii

    The Acacia sieberiana woodii (=Vachellia sieberiana) is a hardy (protect from frost when young) large, semi-deciduous, flat-topped Acacia is fast growing.

  4. Bauhinia bowkeri

    Bauhinia bowkeri is a hardy, semi-deciduous, scrambling shrub or small tree with bright green, glossy bi-lobed leaves that look like butterfly wings.

    It bears big, frilly white flowers that are sweetly scented from October to December. This plant is spectacular when in flower. Plant in sun or semi-shade in well-drained soil.

    They look wonderful in an informal hedge, as a backdrop or low screen or climbing up trees giving a real forested feel.

  5. Ziziphus mucronata

    Ziziphus mucronata is a very hardy, deciduous, small to medium sized tree with both hook and straight thorns. The glossy leaves turn a beautiful, golden yellow in autumn.

    It has attractive, small, yellowish flowers from October to January and hard, round, reddish-brown berries with a sweet, powdery pulp, which are known to be used as a kind of porridge.

  6. Aloe barberae bainesii

    Aloe barberae (bainesii) is a surprisingly hardy, large, evergreen, tree-like Aloe, which can tolerate high rainfall.

  7. Scolopia mundii

    Scolopia mundtii is a very hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, medium growing, small or medium sized tree which is rare and even more rare in cultivation.

    The coppice shoots of this tree have spines which soon disappear.

  8. Croton gratissimus

    Croton gratissimus is a hardy, deciduous, small to medium sized, drought resistant tree with lovely pale grey bark.

  9. Berchemia zeyheri

    Berchemia zeyheri is a hardy, neatly shaped, deciduous tree with a straight stem and smooth grey bark.

  10. Dombeya tiliacea

    Dombeya tiliacea is a hardy, deciduous, small tree or multi-stemmed shrub with dark, heart-shaped, thinly textured leaves and dark fissured bark.

  11. Acacia caffra

    Acacia caffra (=Senegalia caffra) is a very hardy, deciduous, drought resistant, graceful tree with feathery foliage that gives the tree a weeping shape.

  12. Ficus ingens

    Ficus ingens is a fairly hardy, drought resistant fig with a grey to yellowish grey bark.

  13. Ficus sycomorus

    Ficus sycomorus is a fairly hardy, medium to large spreading fig tree with a distinctive yellow stem that is often seen along riverbanks.

  14. Acacia davyi

    Acacia davyi (=Vachellia Davyi) is a hardy, drought resistant, deciduous, small Acacia with distinctive yellow or light brown, corky bark on the stems and branches.

    It has clusters of bright yellow puffball flowers on the ends of the branches from December to February, which attract insects to the garden.

  15. Aloe marlothii

    Aloe marlothii is a very hardy, large, upright, single-stemmed Aloe with a rosette of large, fleshy, thorny leaves.

  16. Euclea crispa

    Euclea crispa is a very hardy, drought resistant, small evergreen tree has a white stem and beautiful blue-green or olive-green leaves.

  17. Buddleja saligna

    Buddleja saligna is a very hardy, evergreen, fast growing, drought resistant tree with silver-grey leaves and beautiful twisted bark that looks almost woven.

    It bears profuse panicles of sweetly scented, white flowers from August to January that attract insects and birds.

  18. Bersama lucens

    Bersama lucens is a fairly hardy, evergreen, small, compact tree with a well-developed crown and beautiful blotchy, wrinkled, grey bark.

    The young leaves are a brilliant glossy russet brown, turning dark green when mature.

    The small greenish white flowers, in long narrow heads, appear from September to June and are followed by green capsules that split to reveal scarlet seeds that attract birds.

    The bark is sought after in traditional medicine and this species is becoming increasingly rare.

    It is a beautiful, decorative tree for a shady to semi-shady part of the garden.

  19. Cussonia thyrsiflora

    Cussonia thyrsiflora is a hardy, evergreen scrambling shrub or small tree that tends to creep along the ground.

    It has large dark green glossy leaves.

  20. Deinbollia oblongifolia

    Deinbollia oblongifolia is a hardy, briefly deciduous, shrub or small tree with large decorative, dark green leaves crowded at the ends of the branches.

    The pyramids of white flowers, which stand out above the leaves, are borne from March to June and are followed by white, fruit that is much favoured by birds.

    Lichens readily grow on the bark giving it a lovely mottled effect.

    One of the best plants for attracting butterflies, moths, other insects and birds to the garden.

    An attractive garden plant for shady areas that also makes a good container plant for indoors.

    Traditionally the seeds are used to make soap, the leaves eaten as spinach and the roots used medicinally.

    Size 1.5

  21. Gymnosporia buxifolia

    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.

  22. Kigelia africana

    Kigelia africana is a fairly hardy, very fast growing, briefly deciduous, medium sized tree.

    It has a straight stem and a rounded crown.

    The large compound leaves are clustered at the ends of the branches with lovely coppery coloured new growth.

  23. Chlorophytum modestum

    Chlorophytum modestum is a hardy, small, evergreen, perennial with short, strap-like leaves that form a tiny rosette.

  24. Aloe ciliaris

    Aloe ciliaris is a hardy, climbing Aloe with stems climbing up to 5m if they are supported, but otherwise makes a lovely, clump forming sprawling shrub. 

    The leaves are in loose rosettes around the stem and fringed with white hairs.

  25. 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

  26. Gardenia cornuta

    Gardenia cornuta is a small, evergreen, decorative tree. It is multi-stemmed with grey-green mottled bark on erect, stiff branches.

    The leaves are clustered at the ends of the hard twigs, and are shiny light green with wavy margins.

    Scented, star-like white flowers adorn the tree from December to March, making it a sight to behold. They fade to creamy yellow as they get older.

    These are followed by oval woody fruit that turn yellow. The fruit is eaten by monkeys when it is young, and nyala also relish the fruit.

    Plant in a spot that is protected from frost, in sun or very light, dappled shade.

    Size up to 5m

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. Aloe tenuior

    Aloe tenuior is a hardy, pretty, dainty, rambling Aloe has bright red or yellow flowers.

    It has long narrow sheathing leaves, crowded in a loose rosette at the tip of the branches.

  30. Aptenia cordifolia

    Aptenia cordifolia is a hardy, evergreen groundcover that is fast-growing,it has a spreading growth habit and roots as it creeps along.

    It has light-green, succulent leaves and deep rose-pink flowers from September to July.The flowers attract bees to the garden.

    It has many medicinal uses.This is a useful plant for stabilizing banks or as living mulch in the garden as it spreads rapidly.

    It grows well in either sun or semi-shade.

    Size: 5 to 10cm

  31. Bulbine frutescens

    Bulbine frutescens is a very hardy, evergreen, vigorous, spreading, succulent shrublet or groundcover with grey-green, smooth, short, succulent, quill-like leaves.

    Throughout the year it bears spikes of pretty, star-shaped, yellow or orange flowers that attract insects.They also make good cut flowers.

    It is an important medicinal plant as the juice of the leaves has excellent healing properties, and will relieve stings, burns and rashes.

    Plant in large groups or in between rocks for good effect Plant in full sun or light shade.It is drought-resistant but also grows well in normal garden conditions.

    Size: 30 to 50 cm

  32. 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.

  33. Crassula multicava Purple

    Crassula multicava 'Purple' is a hardy, evergreen, mat-forming, broad-leaved succulent plant. The leaves are purple on the underside, making this an attractive, colourful plant all year round, even when not in flower.

    From May to November it bears many sprays of dainty, star-shaped, pink flowers that attract a whole host of tiny insects.

  34. Crassula ovata

    Crassula ovata is a hardy, evergreen, erect, succulent shrublet of which two subspecies are recognised.It has a tree-like appearance, with a single, light-brown to greyish-brown main stem, from which many small branches arise.The small, fleshy, dark-green leaves are slightly flattened and narrow.

    The tiny, honey-scented, creamy-white to pink flowers are carried in many rounded inflorescences on the plant almost all year round but mainly April to September.The flowers attract a whole host of tiny insects which are the staple diet of lizards and frogs.

    Used in traditional medicine.It is beautiful planted in amongst rocks or in a container.

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

    Size: up to 1m

  35. Crassula spathulata

    Crassula spathulata is a very hardy, evergreen, succulent, creeping, fast-growing, mat-forming groundcover with glossy, almost lime-green, round little leaves.When grown in sun and not watered much, the leaves turn a pinky-red on the margins.

    Sprays of tiny, pink and white flowers are borne in spring and summer.The flowers are visited by many tiny pollinating insects.

    It can be planted as a living mulch to help keep moisture in and weeds out.Mass plant under trees and along borders as well as in containers and hanging baskets where it will cascade happily over the edges.This pretty plant is tough, easy to grow and rewarding.One of its many uses is that it helps to stabilise banks.

    Grows well in shade and sun and, although it is a succulent, it thrives in a normally irrigated garden.

    Size: 10 to 15 cm

  36. Crassula spathulata

    Crassula spathulata is a very hardy, evergreen, succulent, creeping, fast-growing, mat-forming groundcover with glossy, almost lime-green, round little leaves.When grown in sun and not watered much, the leaves turn a pinky-red on the margins.

    Sprays of tiny, pink and white flowers are borne in spring and summer.The flowers are visited by many tiny pollinating insects.

    It can be planted as a living mulch to help keep moisture in and weeds out.Mass plant under trees and along borders as well as in containers and hanging baskets where it will cascade happily over the edges.This pretty plant is tough, easy to grow and rewarding.One of its many uses is that it helps to stabilise banks.

    Grows well in shade and sun and, although it is a succulent, it thrives in a normally irrigated garden.

    Size: 10 to 15 cm

  37. Acacia gerrardii

    Acacia gerrardii (=Varchellia gerrardii) is a hardy, fairly fast-growing, drought-resistant, deciduous Acacia.It has a long, straight stem that starts branching high up to form a flattish crown.As it is sparsely branched and throws little shade, many plants and lawn grass will grow underneath it.

    The bark is dark grey and fissured, with red under-bark appearing in the cracks.The bark on the young branches is red and young growth is covered in hairs.

    From October to February the tree is literally covered in masses of large, creamy-white, scented puffball flowers that attract many pollinating insects.It is the host plant of the Black-striped Hairtail butterfly.The flowers are followed by nutritious, sickle shaped pods.

    Bark contains tannin that is used for medicinal purposes.It tolerates a wide variety of soil types.This Acacia can be used in fairly small gardens as it is tall but not bulky.

    Plant in full sun.

    Size: 5 to 7m

  38. Strelitzia juncea

    Strelitzia juncea is a lovely addition to the garden. This hardy, evergreen plant forms a bushy clump of tough, cylindrical leaves. The interesting leaves and shape make this a stunning accent and container plant.

    The brilliant orange and shimmering peacock-blue flowers have an interesting structure resembling an exotic bird, and flower from May to October.

    The beautiful, flowers attract a number of different bird species to the garden. The nectar attracts sunbirds while the black seeds with an orange aril attracts many seed eating birds to the garden. Use both the long lasting flowers and leaves for flower arranging.

    Plant in well-drained, rich soil in full sun or partial shade.

    Size up to 1.5m

  39. Strelitzia juncea

    Strelitzia juncea is a lovely addition to the garden. This hardy, evergreen plant forms a bushy clump of tough, cylindrical leaves. The interesting leaves and shape make this a stunning accent and container plant.

    The brilliant orange and shimmering peacock-blue flowers have an interesting structure resembling an exotic bird, and flower from May to October.

    The beautiful, flowers attract a number of different bird species to the garden. The nectar attracts sunbirds while the black seeds with an orange aril attracts many seed eating birds to the garden. Use both the long lasting flowers and leaves for flower arranging.

    Plant in well-drained, rich soil in full sun or partial shade.

    Size up to 1.5m

  40. Ficus abutilifolia

    Ficus abutilifolia is a hardy, deciduous, small to medium sized fig tree that has beautiful, large, heart-shaped leaves.

  41. Hypoestes aristata Little Pink

    Hypoestes aristata little pink 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 pink flowers with purple spots in the middle of winter, from March to August.,

  42. Plumbago auriculata White

    Plumbago auriculata white is a hardy, scrambling, much branched, evergreen shrub.

    It bears masses of edible, white Phlox-like flowers on and off all year round.

    It is an important butterfly host plant and attracts both butterflies and birds to the garden. 

    A popular garden and hedging plant that is also suitable for covering banks.

    Prune regularly to keep smaller and in shape as it can get quite wild.

  43. Plumbago auriculata Blue

    Plumbago auriculata blue is a hardy, scrambling, much branched, evergreen shrub.

    It bears masses of edible, sky-blue Phlox-like flowers on and off all year round.

    It is an important butterfly host plant and attracts both butterflies and birds to the garden.

  44. Portulacaria afra

    Portulacaria afra is a hardy, evergreen, neatly shaped, small tree or shrub with pretty round, succulent leaves and ruby red branches.

    The leaves have a pleasant acid flavour and can be used in salads.

    From October to January, after rain, it is covered in clear pink to rosy mauve, nectar rich flowers - a wonderful sight. The papery 3-winged ornamental fruits resemble pinkish lanterns.

    Plant in well-drained soil in sun or shade.

    Useful for binding soil.

  45. Portulacaria afra prostrata

    Portulacaria afra prostrata is a fairly hardy, pretty, succulent groundcover is a variety of P. afra but instead of being a large upright shrub it has a creeping habit and stays low.

    It has attractive round, glossy leaves on long arching succulent branches.

  46. Sansevieria hyacinthoides

    Sansevieria hyacinthoides is a hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant, succulent plant with rigid, tongue-shaped, succulent leaves.The leaves are grey-green with darker, mottled markings.

    This drought-resistant, attractive form plant bears, in spring and summer, gorgeous spikes of showy, white flowers that attract bees and other insects.The flowers are followed by orange berries that attract birds.

    Extensively used in traditional medicine.Makes an attractive container plant that requires little care. 

    It makes a lovely show in those difficult, dry, shady areas under trees or in amongst rocks. 

    Size: 30 to 50cm

  47. Acacia burkei

    Acacia burkei (=Senegalia burkei) is a hardy, deciduous, medium sized Acacia that has attractive, large round leaflets.

    Spikes of white flowers from October to January are followed by bright red seed pods.

    This beautiful specimen tree gives dense shade, but is a little slow growing.

  48. Haemanthus albiflos

    Haemanthus albiflos is a hardy, evergreen, shade-loving, bulbous plant with mainly broad, glossy, green, strap-like leaves, although they are very variable and can sometimes be hairy. The upper half of the bulb is bright-green and is exposed above ground.

    The beautiful ‘paintbrush’-type inflorescence is borne from April to September. It has a papery, green calyx encasing a head of many long, thin, white flowers that are yellow-tipped with pollen. The orange-red berries that follow are an attractive feature.

    The pollen attracts bees and butterflies to the garden while birds love the succulent berries. It is also used in traditional medicine.

    This plant makes a wonderful container plant as it likes to be pot-bound. Use as an indoor plant as well. This is a shade-loving plant and, if left undisturbed, will flower and thrive in those dark, difficult areas of the garden.

    Plant in well-drained, compost-rich soil. Remember when planting out to leave the top half of the bulb exposed.

    Size: 20 to 25cm

  49. Acacia hebeclada

    Acacia hebeclada (=Vachellia hebeclada) is a hardy, small to medium-sized, spreading, deciduous tree or large shrub with paired, sharp spines. The dark brown to grey bark is fissured and flaking.Birds, such as the Red-billed Wood Hoopoe, enjoy probing under the bark for insects.

    The blue-green leaves are hairy and catch the sun. Mostly creamy-white, but sometimes pale-yellow, large, round puffball flowers, are scented and borne in large attractive clusters at the nodes of the leaves.

    They adorn the tree from July to September and offer up a bounty of pollen and nectar to the numerous small pollinating insects and insectivorous birds that visit them. As the shoots age their colour changes giving the crown a lovely mottled look.

    The large, distinctive pods stand upright and persist on the plant for a few seasons, hence the common name ‘Candle Thorn’. An ideal addition to a security hedge because of its height and ferocious thorns.

    It is often referred to as ‘The House of the Lion’ as lions often shelter under it in the hot dry areas where this tree occurs.

    Size: 4 to 7m

  50. Volkameria glabra

    Volkameria glabra (=Clerodendrum glabrum)  is a very hardy, semi-deciduous, fast-growing, small tree or large shrub with a dense crown. It has shiny, dark-green leaves that are pungent when crushed.

    From December to June it bears profuse, dense clusters of white to pinkish flowers that have long stamens. In some specimens the flowers are wonderfully scented, whilst in others the scent can be pungent.These are followed by tightly packed yellowish-white berries that attract birds to the garden.

    An important host plant of moths and butterflies – an absolute must for a butterfly garden. The flowers also attract a whole host of pollinating insects and the nectar in the flowers is an important food source for bees.

    It is extensively used for medicinal and traditional purposes.

    Plant in sun or semi-shade in well-composted soil.

    Size: 2 to 6m

  51. Acacia brevispica

    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.

  52. Hypoestes aristata White

    Hypoestes aristata white 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 of 2-lipped white flowers 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.

  53. Freesia grandiflora

    Freesia grandiflora is a fairly hardy, deciduous plant with fan of soft, bring green, flat leaves that arise from an underground corm.

    The large, scarlet flowers look like bright red stars, with a darker red blotch in the centre of the flower. It blooms from December to April. The seeds that follow are bright orange.

    It makes a beautiful garden subject, especially when planted amongst rocks and shorter grasses. It is also a lovely container plant.

    Plant in full sun to semi-shade, in well-composted soil that drains well.

    Size to 45cm

  54. Erythrina humeana

    Erythrina humeana is a hardy, deciduous, fairly fast-growing shrub or small tree with dark olive-green, trifoliate leaves.

    The long-lasting, gorgeous, brilliant red, long flower spikes are carried above the leaves on slender stalks.

  55. Acacia galpinii

    Acacia galpinii (=Senegalia galpinii) is a very hardy fairly fast growing, deciduous thorn tree and is one of the largest of the Acacias.