Plant your Favourite Indigenous Tree for SA Arbour Week 2013


September 1st to 7th is National Arbour Week in South Africa, and people across the country will be rolling up their sleeves, grabbing spades and shovels and getting down to the all-important business of planting trees! There’s never been a better time to do your bit for Mother Earth – get together with your friends, family, company or community and get planting. Be sure to choose indigenous South African trees – they use less water, they tolerate local climate changes from frost to drought, and they help maintain our country’s biodiversity.

Take a look at this handy “Grow a Tree” Starter Pack and you’ll find a wide range of beautiful South African trees to choose from. Here’s a look at a few popular indigenous trees you should consider planting this September.

Sweet Thorn

Acacia Karroo

This beautiful, useful tree can be found all across South Africa, as well as Zambia and Angola. It’s long been used for fencing, raft-making and as a natural remedy for colds and conjunctivitis. With its fragrant, bright yellow blossoms, the Sweet Thorn makes a beautiful addition to the indigenous South African garden. It attracts insects and birds, thanks to its sweet fragrance and sharp thorns, which provide protection against predators.

White Stinkwood

Celtis Africana

This is a popular, fast-growing tree great for planting in parks, gardens or courtyards. It’s a great choice for bird-lovers – the Cape Bulbul, Cape Robin, Karoo Thrush and Knysna Lourie are just a few examples of the many indigenous birds that feed on the White Stinkwood’s fruit and seeds.

Wild Olive

Olea europaea subsp. Africana

The Wild Olive, found throughout the country, is a slow-growing but hardy evergreen tree with beautiful golden-brown wood. It makes a wonderful shade tree or windbreak, and if it’s properly cared for it will bear fruit in late spring/ early summer. This should attract plenty of local birds and insects to your garden.

Fever Tree

Acacia xanthophloea

This is a strikingly beautiful tree, known for its feathery leaves, upright growth and yellow to lime-green bark. The sweet-smelling blossoms and fruits attract bees and other insects, which in turn attract plenty of insectivorous birds. Most people appreciate Fever Trees for their fast growth and ornamental appeal, but they’re also remarkably useful, historically used in traditional remedies for fevers, indigestion and even malaria.


Podocarpus latifolius

Let’s not forget the mighty Yellowwood, South Africa’s National Tree – found largely in the moister regions of the Western and Eastern Cape, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal. Over the centuries, the hardy wood of this famous tree was used as timber for flooring, furniture and railway sleepers all over South Africa, making it a long-standing part of our country’s natural heritage. A great choice for Arbour Week!

These are just a few of our beautiful country’s remarkable native trees – pick your favourite to plant this Arbour Week as a gift to yourself, to Mother Nature and to our future generations! You can also spread the Arbour Day love with a thoughtful gift like this adorable Matchstick Forest – perfect for anyone planting their first tree.

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