A guide to South African indigenous trees| Stodels Garden Centre

A guide to South African indigenous trees

8th September 2020

Trees provide shade, privacy, attractive foliage and beautiful flowers, and they also improve air quality, reduce noise and hide undesirable views. If you plant an indigenous tree, it will also work that much harder to attract birds and butterflies to your garden, while being far more drought-resistant than an exotic tree species.


A tree, or plant, is indigenous to a region or area if it grew and evolved there through natural processes. Benefits of planting indigenous varieties include the fact that it is often much hardier and more attractive to the local wildlife. 


The Kei Apple (Dovyalis caffra): This tree has glossy green leaves and long, sharp thorns, making it an excellent choice for boundary walls where you require extra security. If you plant both a male and female plant in your garden, you’ll be rewarded with bright yellow fruit in February. The fruit is both delicious and attractive.

The Tree Wisteria (Bolusanthus speciosus): A wisteria is one of the prettiest of spring-flowering trees and likes a sunny spot with well-draining soil. It is a deciduous tree that can reach a height of up to 7m and produces attractive pea-shaped mauve flowers in spring and summer.

The Fever Tree (Vachellia xanthophloea): This tree grows 12–15m tall, with an 8–10m wide spread, so it’s perfect for gardens with lots of room. The smooth bark is a bright yellow-green, birds love nesting in its branches and butterflies are attracted to the yellow fluffy blossoms that appear in spring and early summer.

Bladdernut or Swartbas (Diospyros whyteana): This tree has a neat growth habit, glossy dark green leaves and small, white, bell-shaped flowers in spring, followed by fruit enclosed in papery cases that attract birds. It grows in semi-shade or full sun and is an excellent tree for a small garden. It can also be grown as a shrub and makes an attractive bonsai.

Fuchsia (Halleria lucida): This tree makes an attractive feature tree in the garden, with a height and spread of 5m. Orange-red flowers grow on the older wood of the main trunk and larger branches and they attract sunbirds and bees.

Discover the following indigenous trees at your local Stodels this Arbour Day:

Western Cape branches

  • Forest bush willow (Combretum kraussii)
  • Butterspoon tree (Cunonia capensis)
  • Camphor bush (Tarchonanthus camphoratus)
  • White karee (Searsia pendulina)
  • Weeping wattle (Peltophorum africanum)
  • Sneezewood tree (Ptaeroxylon obliquum)
  • Waterberry (Syzygium cordatum)
  • Sycamore fig (Ficus sycomorus)
  • White stinkwood (Celtis africana)

Centurion branch

  • River bush willow (Compretum erythrophyllum)
  • Fever tree (Vachellia xanthophloea)
  • African holly (Ilex mitis)
  • False olive (Buddleja saligna)
  • Karee (Searsia lancea)
  • Tree wisteria (Bolusanthus speciosus)
  • Henkel’s yellowwood (Podocarpus henkelii)
  • Cape Ash (Ekebergia capensis)
  • Weeping boer bean (Schotia brachypetala)
  • Zulu cherry-orange (Teclea gerrardii)
  • Yelllowwood (Podocarpus latifolius)
  • Tree fuchsia (Halleria lucida)
  • White stinkwood (Celtis africana)
  • Wild plum (Harpephyllum caffrum)
  • Natal Mahogany (Trichilia dregeana)
  • Forest elder (Nuxia floribunda)