Suggestions for indigenous trees and a list of alien plants
Residents have asked about indigenous trees that are evergreen, fast growing and attract birds.
Highly recommended in this category is Kiggelaria africana.It is very attractive and fast growing, especially if given plenty of water. The most fascinating thing about this tree is that it attracts swarms of orange butterflies that lay their eggs on the leaves. These hatch in spring, and the Diedrick cuckoos, which live on caterpillars, arrive in their hordes and generally stay until the end of summer. Incidentally, the caterpillars do not do any damage to other plants as they seem to be specific to Kiggelaria. For best results, plant 2 or 3 specimens. Male and female flowers occur on different trees; recommended planting is 1 male and 2 females. The latter produce very pretty fruits that attract Cape Turtle Doves and Red-eyed Doves when ripe.
For a list of alien plants that should be removed or not planted, click here.
Other Indigenous trees & shrubs suitable for the highveld
|Acacia caffra||tree||7m||deciduous||Attractive shade tree. Used by mossies and weavers as nesting sites|
|Acacia karoo||tree||7m||deciduous||Attractive shade tree. Used by mossies and weavers as nesting sites|
|Acacia robusta||tree||8m||deciduous||Attractive shade tree. Used by mossies and weavers as nesting sites|
|Acacia tortilis||tree||5m||deciduous||Attractive shade tree. Used by mossies and weavers as nesting sites|
|Acacia xanthophloea||tree (Fever tree)||8m||deciduous||Not indigenous to the highveld but is a spectacular specimen tree|
|Aloe arborescens||succulent||2m||evergreen||Densely covered with orange flowers in winter. Much loved by sunbirds & bulbuls|
|Aloe marlothii||succulent||2m||evergreen||Striking specimen plant, attractive to sunbirds & bulbuls|
|Brachylaena rotundata||tree||6m||semi-deciduous||Fast-growing. This is the silvery leafed tree prominent on Linksfield ridge|
|Carissa bispinosa||shrub||1m||evergreen||Not indigenous to the highveld but does well in sheltered spots|
|Celtis africana||tree||8m||deciduous||Fast-growing. Excellent shade tree|
|Diospyros lycoides||shrub||2m||deciduous||Pretty shrub with bright red berries|
|Erhetia rigida||shrub||3m||deciduous||Pretty shrub with sweetly scented flowers & bright orange berries|
|Erythrina capensis||tree||6m||deciduous||Not indigenous to the highveld but does well in sheltered spots. Spectacular red flowers|
|Euclea crispa||tree||4m||evergreen||Highly recommended. Requires plenty of sun|
|Greyia sutherlandii||tree||4m||deciduous||Commonly found in the Drakensburg but does OK in Jhb. Spectacular red flowers|
|Halleria lucida||tree||5m||evergreen||Unusual tree, orange flowers grow directly from the trunk. Prefers forests so plant amongst other trees|
|Kiggelaria africana||tree||8m||evergreen||See comments above|
|Leucosidea sericea||tree||3m||evergreen||Likes lots of water but well worth it|
|Olea europea, var africana||tree||8m||evergreen||Fast-growing if well-watered|
|Rhus undulata||tree||3m||evergreen||Fruit eaten by birds|
|Rhus pyroides||tree||3m||evergreen||Fruit eaten by birds|
|Rhus leptodictya||tree||5m||evergreen||Beautiful shade tree. Prune side branches when young to encourage taller growth. Fruit eaten by birds|
|Schotia brachypetala||tree||5m||deciduous||Spectacular but very slow. Worthwhile if you want to leave a monument to yourself!|
|Tecomaria capensis||shrub||2m||semi-deciduous||Densely covered with orange flowers. Requires full sunlight|
The best source of indigenous plants in Johannesburg is Witkoppen Wildflower Nursery. They aren't cheap, but they know what they are doing.
List compiled by resident Humphrey McAllister MSc (Natal)