Trees for every Season and Reason

tn_Ochna serrulata

Trees for every Season and Reason

In KwaZulu-Natal, we are blessed with an abundance floral diversity.

There is a wonderful indigenous tree for every season, for every reason and for every garden, big or small.

If you are thinking of planting a tree, there is simply no reason not to think indigenous.

Favourite Trees

There are so many reasons to plant a Halleria lucida tree, often affectionately known as Hilarious Lucy in indigenous gardening circles. I call mine ‘the giving tree’ because of its bountiful generosity to all creatures, great and small.

In autumn it covers itself with masses of bright orange flowers that soon attracts hosts of sunbirds, other nectar loving avians, bees and insects.

When the flowers turn into a feast of juicy black berries, the fruit eaters arrive and gorge themselves on the delicious fare. Plenty of birds hunt the insects that hide in the cracks of the grey-brown fissured bark and little white-eyes regularly spend time in her higher branches, combing the attractive green leaves for the tiny insects.


Known by the common names of ‘mitzeeri’ or, very descriptively, as ‘coastal goldenleaf’, the Bridelia micrantha is a tree of seasonal splendour. It doesn’t wait for autumn to put on a show of red and gold leaves. Instead, it colours its foliage in celebration of Spring. The tree bears small white nondescript flowers but their attractive black fruit is gobbled up by birds that, in turn, spread the seeds, helping to plant more of these trees.

Small gardens

If you have a small garden and need something on the smaller side, take a look at the Ochna genus. Gardeners have given Ochna natalitia the quaint name of ‘Mickey Mouse’ bush. This is because of its bright red and black fruit that, with a bit of imagination, resembles the popular Disney character.


Ochna serrulata  is a slightly smaller, daintier version of  Ochna natalitia  and has smaller serrated leaves.

Ochna chilversii, very similar to its fore-mentioned cousins, is one of those Pondoland specials that many local indigenous gardeners collect.


The dainty river indigo trees are particularly beautiful when covered with sprays of dainty pink flowers.

When the blooms die off they are replaced by small, finely shaped reddish pods that suddenly decide to burst noisily open together. The dainty evergreen leaflets and slightly droopy shape make the river indigo a most attractive garden plant.


Happy planting!

Article by the Courtesy of Ivungu River Conservancy and Xclusive Directory.

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