Tree of the year 2011
|The tree of the year is
Family: Sapindaceae (litchi or soap-berry family) Common names: jacket plum, Indaba tree, bushveld cherry (Eng.); doppruim (Afr.); umQhokwane, umVuna, iNdaba (Zulu); iliTye, umGqalutye (Xhosa); mongatane, Mopsinyugane (Northern Sotho); liLetsa (Swati); Xikwakwaxu, Gulaswimbi (Tsonga)
The red fruit of this tree is a tasty treat for humans and a firm favourite with birds and animals. A fine oil is extracted from the seeds. The jacket plum is related to the litchi and is a natural addition for the bird or wildlife garden. It is easily cultivated, although slow-growing in colder climates.
The jacket plum is a long-lived, hardy, evergreen small to medium tree with a height of 2-8 m. It grows at a moderate rate but is slow-growing under dry and/or cold conditions. The jacket plum is a worthy addition to any garden no matter what part of the country you live in. It can tolerate both cold and heat as well as prolonged periods of drought. It may be used as a specimen tree or as a focal point. It is useful as a street tree or for shade in parking lots as it does not have an aggressive root system.
The leaves are simple and oblong, hard-textured and wavy. New leaves are an attractive pinky-bronze when they emerge in spring, and this contrasts well with the dark green of the old leaves.
Making an attractive display.
The greenish sweetly scented flowers are borne on catkins in the axils of the leaves, followed by round green velvety fruits which split open to reveal bright red flesh with a dark brown to black seed imbedded within. Flowers attract a wide variety of insects which in turn attract many birds. The seed is parasitized by a small, bright red bug (Leptocoris hexophtalma) which sucks the oil from the seed on the ground below the tree. Flowering season is from September to May.
The fruit, produced from December to July, is eaten by various frugivorous birds and animals which in turn distribute the seeds in their droppings. The leaves are browsed by game such as elephant, giraffe, kudu, nyala, bushbuck, and grey duiker as well as domestic stock animals.
The wood is hard, light brown with a reddish tint, tough and heavy with a twisted grain with apparently little difference between the heartwood and sapwood. It is used to make sticks, poles, cattle yokes, furniture and kitchen utensils.
Pappea capensis is widespread in southern Africa from the Northern Cape through the drier Karoo, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, to the northern provinces, as well as Mozambique, Zimbabwe and northwards into eastern and southern tropical Africa. It naturally occurs in bushveld, riverine thicket, wooded grassland and rocky outcrops in grassland as well as scrub veld and is often found on termite mounds.
The delicious and very juicy fruit with a tart flavour is used to make preserve, jelly, vinegar and an alcoholic drink. Fragrant non-drying golden yellow oil is extracted from the roasted seeds. It is also used as a purgative and for lubrication, as a cure for ringworm, to restore hair, as well as for making soap. Leaves, bark and the oil extracted from the seed are used medicinally against baldness, ringworm, nosebleeds, chest complaints, eye infections, and venereal disease. The root is used orally or as an enema and as a purgative for cattle.
Family : Rubiaceae (gardenia family, coffee family) Common names: bride’s bush, Christmas bush (Eng); bruidsboom, bruidsbos, kers(mis)bos (Afr.)
When in full flower, these trees or shrubs truly remind one of a beautiful, radiant bride stunningly dressed in a specially designed white garment! As most of them flower around November/December, the alternative name, Christmas bush, is also very apt.
Description: Species of the genus Pavetta are evergreen trees, shrubs or dwarf shrubs, upright, 0.3-10 m high. The bark is often a light, whitish colour. The leaves are simple, entire, dark green, glossy or hairy, very thin and usually distinctly petiolate, with quite a variation in the shape and size of the leaves of the different species. Black, roundish dots are scattered over the leaf surface or elongated ones along the veins. These are bacterial nodules. On the stem, between the petioles or leaf bases, there are small, connate leaflets (stipules) forming a sheath around the stem, known as.
Interpetiolar stipules, a characteristic feature of the family Rubiaceae.
Fragrant flowers are borne from as early as October to February. The corolla is white (in all South African species) to cream-coloured or greenish white, tubular below, with four, free, rounded lobes at right angles to the tube. The lobes have a green apex when young. The sweetly scented flowers attract many pollinators such as birds, bees, wasps, beetles, ants and moths. These in turn attract birds and other predators. Birds and monkeys love the fruits, which are obviously distributed by them.
The genus Pavetta contains about 400 species occurring in the Old World tropics (tropical and subtropical Africa, Asia and tropical Australia). In southern Africa there are about 24 species, growing in the summer rainfall areas but absent from the Northern and Western Cape. Most species have small distribution ranges in southern Africa and are endemic to certain areas. They are often found in forests, riverine forests, on forest margins and in bush clumps from sea level to mountain slopes and ravines or more open savannas, whereas some species are almost always associated with rocky situations or with large rocks and boulders.
Economic and cultural value
Two of the species occurring in southern Africa, Pavetta harborii and P. schumanniana, have been reported as poisonous to stock, causing gousiekte. The leaves of P. zeyheri, P. edentula and P. lanceolata are edible and are used as a vegetable. The flowers of some species might be used in traditional African wedding ceremonies and can also be used in flower arrangements.
None of the Pavetta species are threatened at this stage although some are restricted and endemic to small areas.
Nuxia congesta (633)
Family: Loganiaceae Common names: bogwood, brittle-wood (Eng); bergsalie, witblomsalie, broshoutvlier (Afr.)
Nuxia congesta is a shrub or small tree, 3-15 m high with a stem of 20-60 cm in diameter.
The bark is grey or brown and rough and stringy. Young twigs are often red. The leaves, on short stalks, are variable, 1-8 cm long and about 4 cm wide, and arranged in whorls of 3 around the nodes. Budding in autumn, the flowers are small, tubular, white or cream with a purplish tint. They are fragrant and persist on the tree. Fruit is a hairy capsule protruding from the calyx.
Its specific name, ‘congesta’, is derived from the densely crowded flowers. N. congesta is a very variable species, and a long list of synonyms attests to this nomenclatural fact.
N. congesta is a good tree for bee fodder. The branches are used for fuel and lighting. As timber, the wood is soft and white, with little difference between sap and heartwood, and is used for building. These trees are good for erosion control and are a hardy species. They provide shelter and are also ornamental, with their appealing flowers and fragrance.
N. congesta is a pioneering tree on edges of light upland or lower montane forest, bamboo zone and on hilltops above the forest margin. Nuxia is also common on rocky ridges. In lower montane forest Nuxia is normally associated with Olea africana.
Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe