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The Botanical Society of South Africa
       Kwa Zulu-Natal Coastal Branch


Since trees, with shrubs, provide a framework for the rest of the plants in your garden, and provide homes and food sources for birds and other wildlife, they need to be carefully selected and placed.  When selecting trees consider the size of your garden and whether you want it to be shady or more open. Remember that a number of indigenous trees are very fast-growing ‘pioneer’ species and will create shady areas even before you expected this to happen. You can obtain beautiful effects by planting different flowering trees next to one another. Also, there is much good advice available on beautiful locally indigenous trees that can replace any ‘invader’ trees in your garden.




Acacia burkei

Black Monkey Thorn

Medium to large bushveld tree, hooked thorns, provides good bird nesting sites

Acacia robusta ssp. clavigera

Brack Thorn

Handsome large shade tree, fast-growing; dense foliage, scented cream flowers

Acacia sieberiana

Paperbark Thorn

Tall tree, characteristic flat 'umbrella' crown, cream flowers, peeling bark. Birds

Acacia xanthophloea

Fever Tree

Tall tree, moist sunny conditions, yellow bark and flowers, fast-growing, birds

Albizia adianthifolia


Large spreading-crown deciduous pioneer tree, cream flowers, light shade

Allophylus africanus

False Currant

Large shrub / small tree for sun-semi. Profuse red berries, trifoliate

Baphia racemosa

Natal Camwood

Small evergreen coastal tree, profuse sweetly scented, white pea-flowers

Bersama lucens

Glossy White Ash

Medium evergreen tree, glossy foliage, cream flower spikes, red fruits for birds

Brachylaena discolor

Coast Silver Oak

Fast-growing small tree for coastal or windy areas; good for hedge or screen

Buddleja saligna

False Olive

4m upright spindly tree, dry sun, profuse honey-scented cream flower heads

Celtis africana

White Stinkwood

Beautiful large deciduous tree, smooth grey bark, small yellow fruit attracts birds

Chionanthus peglerae

White Pock Ironwood

Medium evergreen tree, glossy foliage, scented flowers; birds eat fruits

Clausena anisata


3-5m small tree, smelly foliage, white flowers and red fruits, butterflies and birds

Combretum erythrophyllum

River Bushwillow

Fast growing tree with lovely autumn foliage, attracts birds, cold-hardy

Combretum molle

Velvet Bushwillow

Decorative medium tree for sun-semi, colourful autumn leaves, winged fruits

Commiphora harveyi

Red-stem Corkwood

Small-medium deciduous tree, sun-semi, attractive foliage, coppery peeling bark

Croton gratissimus

Lavender Croton

Lovely evergreen tree, spreading flattish canopy, pretty silvery bicoloured leaves

Croton sylvaticus

Forest Fever-berry

6-10m semi-deciduous tree, attractive white flower-spikes, orange fruits. Birds

Cryptocarya woodii

Cape Quince

Medium evergreen tree - round crown, glossy foliage and edible black fruits

Curtisia dentata


6-12m evergreen tree, sun/semi-shade, attractive serrated bicoloured leaves

Cussonia paniculata

Highveld Cabbage Tree

Small-medium deciduous tree in sun. Angular shape and grey palmate foliage

Cussonia spicata

Cabbage Tree

Medium deciduous tree. Sun. Unusual angular form and sparse palmate foliage

Cussonia zuluensis

Zulu Cabbage Tree

Small multi-stemmed tree, sun/semi-shade, attractive foliage clustered at top

Diospyros lycioides

Blue Bush

Shrub or small bushy tree, sun, scented cream flowers, red fruit loved by birds

Dovyalis caffra

Kei Apple

Good spiny hedge plant, sun/semi-shade, fruit in female for birds and people

Dovyalis longispina

Natal Apricot

Small thorny evergreen coastal tree. Barrier/screen plant. Edible fruit, birds

Dovyalis zeyheri

Wild Apricot

Small or medium spiny tree. Yellow-orange oval edible fruits for wildlife/people

Dracaena mannii

Small-leaved Dragon Tree

Decorative small tree with unusual spiky foliage, sun; orange fruits for birds

Englerophytum magalismontanum


Small-medium evergreen tree, grows along inland ridges, delicious fruit, birds

Englerophytum natalense

Natal Milkplum

Small-medium evergreen tree in coastal forest understorey, delicious fruit, birds

Erythrina caffra

Coast Coral Tree

Medium to large deciduous tree. Orange/red flowers in winter. Excellent for birds

Erythrina lysistemon

Common Coral Tree

Small-medium deciduous tree, prickles on leaves, red inflorescences, sunbirds

Euclea natalensis

Natal Guarri

Small-medium evergreen tree, sun. Dense crown. Lovely scent. Fruit for birds.

Eugenia erythrophylla

Large-leaved Myrtle

3-10m attractive small coastal tree with pink new leaves, red fruit eaten by birds

Eugenia umtamvunensis

Thick-leaf Myrtle

Rare small-medium evergreen tree with shiny, yellow to red to purple edible fruit

Euphorbia tirucalli

Rubber Euphorbia

Succulent leafless multi-stemmed tree 4-6m, sun, toxic sap, seeds for birds

Ficus ingens

Red-leaved Rock Fig

Small to medium spreading tree, sun. Beautiful red-bronze spring leaves. Birds

Ficus natalensis

Natal Fig

Large spreading evergreen tree, strangler, provides shade, fruits for wildlife

Ficus polita

Wild Rubber Fig

Handsome tall semi-deciduous tree, glossy heart-shaped leaves, attracts wildlife

Ficus sur

Broom Cluster Fig

Medium-large tree, beautiful bronze new leaves, fast-growing, fruits attract birds

Garcinia gerrardii

Forest Mangosteen

Attractive shrub to small tree, shade; beautiful bronze new leaves. Fruit for birds

Garcinia livingstonei

African Mangosteen

Small chunky tree with beautiful leathery foliage, red new leaves, orange fruits

Halleria lucida 'orange'

Tree Fuchsia

Small bushy upright tree, orange tubular flowers, black berries, excellent for birds

Halleria lucida 'white'

Tree Fuchsia

Small tree, unusual white-flowered form, excellent for birds.

Harpephyllum caffrum

Wild Plum

Tall fast-growing neat evergreen tree, foliage clustered, edible red fruits; wildlife

Heteropyxis natalense

Lavender Tree

Small erect tree, attractive, neat shape. Shiny, scented leaves good for potpourri

Inhambanella henriquesii

Milk Pear

Large tree in northern KZN coastal forest, beautiful red new leaves, tasty red fruit

Kiggelaria africana

Wild Peach

Small-medium bushy tree, cold-hardy sun/semi, attracts butterflies and birds

Loxostylis alata


Small spreading tree for sun/shade with attractive foliage and red/white flowers

Lydenburgia (Catha) abbottii

Pondo Khat

Rare tall forest tree from Pondoland. Red new leaves and fruit a 3-lobed capsule

Maesa lanceolata

False Assegaai

Small semi-deciduous pioneer, sun, scented small white flowers, fruit for birds

Millettia grandis


Graceful small-medium deciduous tree, mauve flowerspikes and velvet pods

Mimusops caffra

Coastal Red Milkwood

 Large evergreen coastal tree with dense foliage and red tasty fruit, attracts birds

Nuxia floribunda

Forest Elder

Shrubby or medium rounded tree, sun/semi. Masses of scented white flowers

Olea africana

African Olive

Small-medium evergreen bushy tree, sun, dry areas, edible fruit attracts birds

Olinia emarginata

Natal Hard Pear

Attractive evergreen tree of colder inland areas, small red berries attract birds

Pavetta revoluta

Dune Bride's Bush

2-5m coastal shrub or small tree, sun/shade. Bunches of scented white flowers

Peltophorum africanum

Weeping Wattle

Medium deciduous tree; sunny, dry areas; compound leaves, yellow flowerspikes

Phoenix reclinata

Wild Date Palm

Multi-stemmed reclining palm. Spiny leaf-stalks. Sun/shade. Yellow 'dates', birds

Podocarpus (Afrocarpus) falcatus

Outeniqua Yellowwood

Large evergreen forest tree, produces valuable furniture, Cape parrots eat fruit

Podocarpus elongatus

Breede River Yellowwood

Lovely upright evergreen coniferous tree with glossy dark foliage, attracts birds

Podocarpus henkelii

Natal Yellowwood

Lovely upright coniferous forest tree with glossy dark foliage, attracts birds

Podocarpus latifolius

Real Yellowwood

Large upright evergreen tree with dense green foliage, ripe fruits attract birds

Protorhus longifolia

Red Beech

Medium evergreen coastal tree with old leaves turning red; grey berries for birds

Prunus africana

Red Stinkwood

Tall handsome forest tree; fruit eaten by birds. Bark has medicinal uses

Pseudosalacia streyi

Pondo Rock-lemon

Unusual localised small tree, leathery foliage, horizontal branching, endangered

Ptaeroxylon obliquum


Deciduous tree with lovely autumn foliage and scented cream-yellow flowers

Rauvolfia caffra

Quinine Tree

Large decorative shiny-leaf tree for damp areas.  Attracts birds and butterflies

Rawsonia lucida

Forest Peach

Small evergreen forest tree, shade, attractive toothed foliage, butterflies

Schotia brachypetala 'bonsai'

Weeping Boer-bean

Beautiful deciduous tree, lovely red flowers attract sunbirds. Makes good bonsai

Searsia (Rhus) gueinzii

Thorny Karree

Attractive small tree 4m, spreading form, hardy in dry areas. Good for bonsai

Searsia (Rhus) lancea


Attractive medium evergreen tree 8m, spreading crown, hardy in cold areas

Searsia (Rhus) pyroides

Firethorn Currant

Attractive 6m medium bushing, cold-hardy tree, pretty orange autumn leaves

Sideroxylon inerme

White Milkwood

Hardy medium-large evergreen coastal tree; grows on dunes; fruit for birds

Strychnos decussata

Cape Teak

Medium sized evergreen forest tree, attractive glossy foliage, small yellow fruits

Strychnos spinosa

Spiny Monkey Orange

Small spiny tree, large woody fruit has delicious pulp surrounding toxic seeds

Tabernaemontana elegans

Toad Tree

Small tree, corky bark, scented white flowers, large warted fruit, attracts birds

Tabernaemontana ventricosa

Forest Toad Tree

 Smallish tree 4-6m in forest shade, starry white flowers, toad-like fruit for birds

Teclea natalensis

Natal Cherry-orange

A small evergreen tree with red fruit for birds, attracts swallowtail butterflies

Trichilia dregeana

Forest Mahogany

Large evergreen tree, provides deep shade,  birds, good indoors when young

Turraea floribunda

Wild Honeysuckle Tree

Small-medium tree, scented cream-green flowers, attracts birds and butterflies

Vepris lanceolata

White Ironwood

Attractive, neat spreading trifoliate tree 5-7m. Attracts birds and butterflies

Voacanga thouarsii

Wild Frangipani

Beautiful evergreen tree, damp soil, scented cream flowers, large fruit for birds

Widdringtonia nodiflora

Mountain Cypress

Column-like growth form, likes cold areas, good pot plant & Christmas tree

Zanthoxylum capensis

Small Knobwood

Small forest tree, knobbly bark, attractive small leaves, birds and butterflies

Ziziphus mucronata

Buffalo Thorn

Shiny-leaved spiny tree 5-15m, brown berries, excellent for attracting wildlife