Thursday, May 12, 2011

Iconic South African Trees - The Sunland Baobab

The internationally renowned Sunland Baobab, (Adansonia digitata), is situated on Sunland farm near Tzaneen in the Modjadjiskloof area of Limpopo and is home to the famous Sunland Baobab Bar and wine cellar.

According to the South African Dendrological Society, this immense tree is the world “record holder of it’s species”, with an impressive circumference of 47 metres and standing at an awesome height of 22 metres.

Baobabs are classified as succulents and once these exceptional trees reach the age of 1000 years, the trunks become hollow - creating large natural caverns. The walls of the Sunland Baobab are up to 2 metres thick.

This magnificent specimen has been carbon dated (baobabs don’t produce bark rings) and is believed to be over 6000 years old. This makes the tree older than the pyramids of Giza and means that it was already thousands of years old in the time of Jesus Christ.

In 1990, Doug and Heather van Heerden purchased Sunland farm and became committed to being the guardians of this important natural wonder. In 1993 they decided to clear out the huge hollow of the tree trunk, and while uncovering the floor, which is about 1 metre below ground level, found evidence of both Bushman and Voortrekker habitation.

Just consider for a moment the historical significance of this amazing tree!

The Sunland Baobab can store up to 120,000 litres of water in it’s trunk, a characteristic which helps to keep the Baobab Bar’s interior, which can accommodate up to 60 guests, cool and comfortable, even on the hottest day.

Apart from being a unique and famous tourist attraction, the Sunland Baobab is of even greater ecological importance as it continues to provide food and shelter to numerous birds, as well as a large variety of small mammals.

So the next time you find yourself near Tzaneen, why not slot a visit to the Baobab Bar into your schedule. While you are enjoying a refreshing drink in the heart of a living, ancient tree, there is no doubt that this unforgettable experience will leave you filled with awe at natures majesty while you reflect on everything the Sunland Baobab tree has experienced in its lifetime!


Spectacular Monthly Tree - Erythrina caffra

Although we have many tree species at our nursery that are looking spectacular at any given time, we feature just one tree in particular every month that we know will offer you the best value for money and that will add that special touch to your landscape project.

The beautiful Erythrina caffra is a large, deciduous tree with abundant clusters of striking orange-red flowers. This lovely tree will grow in full sun in almost any soil type and, as indicated by it’s common name, can be grown close to the coast. Erythrinas are cultivated for their beautiful flowers which appear on the bare branches in late winter or early spring. The most noticeable part of the flowers is the large closed petal and the red sepals. As the flowers fade the large trifoliate leaves appear which are often infected with insect galls. The long slender seed pods that follow the flowers are segmented and the seeds, the so called “lucky beans” are orange-red with a distinct black spot at the hilum. At least one of these gorgeous trees should be planted in all South African gardens.
Our 200kg Erythrinas are looking absolutely stunning and we have a special selection of them available for you this month. We have categorized our stock into standard and extra large specimens. The extra large specimens are ready to be rebagged as 1000kg trees, however this month we are offering them to you as large 200kg specimens at an incredible discount. Please call Rudi for pricing.
Botanical NameErythrina caffra        
Common Name    Coast coral tree               
Bag Size 200kg
Quantity Available 50 of each size
Average Tree Height
& Trunk Thickness
LARGE - 3.5 - 4.0m & 10cm
STANDARD - 2.5-3.5m & 10cm
Should you require any further information, such as pricing details or should you wish to place an order, please contact Rudi on 082 829 5543 or Leske on 072 385 0270. Alternatively you are welcome to email us with your enquiry at

Cunonia capensis (Red alder)

The Cunonia capensis is an impressive evergreen shade tree with a fine wide crown. It forms a thick stem that usually remains unbranched for a considerable distance. The new young leaves are bronze when they emerge, maturing to a beautiful glossy dark green. The characteristic large spoon shaped stipules give rise to the common name “Butterspoon tree”. The showy, dense sprays of bottlebrush shaped infloresences are sweetly scented, attracting butterflies and bees while the fruit is relished by a variety of birds. Although the beautiful Red alder enjoys a moist situation, it will grow extremely well in any temperate situation where it is kept well watered
Botanical Name
Cunonia capensis
Common Name
Red alder
RSA National Tree No’
The handsome Red alder is one of our loveliest autumn flowering indigenous trees. This fast growing tree is suitable for almost any situation where an adequate supply of water is available. With it’s attractive bronze to glossy green foliage and it’s abundance of bottlebrush like flowers in autumn, Cunonia capensis looks enchanting throughout the year. The Red alder is equally suitable for a large garden, where it will look stunning as a specimen shade tree, or in a small garden where it’s non-invasive root system ensures that it is safe to plant near patios or paving. This tree is a good choice for large pots on a patio where the lovely foliage can be appreciated and the sweet fragrance of the flowers can be enjoyed when many other plants are looking rather bleak as winter approaches. Cunonia capensis will do really well and look stunning when used to enhance a natural water feature.                                
5m - 10m
Growth Habit
Cunonia capensis is widespread throughout South Africa occuring naturally in montane forest, usually in moist areas and is especially numerous around Cape Town and the Garden Route.
The bark of the Red alder is dark and rough
The glossy dark green leaves are lanceolate consisting of 3 – 5 pairs of leaflets plus a terminal one and are roughly 70mm long. The margins are serrated. Young leaf stalks and shoots are reddish. Large appressed stipules enclose the growth tip forming a distinctive spoon like shape. 
The small, fragrant, creamy flowers that appear in autumn are bisexual with fine protruding stamens and are carried in dense upright racemes resembling a bottlebrush.
The fruit consists of 1cm long leathery, 2 horned capsules.
The seed is very fine and sticky and is distributed mainly by birds, as the seeds tend to stick to their feathers and beaks
Growing regions
This lovely tree occurs from Cape Town and the Western Cape, all the way eastwards to Swaziland and Mozambique.
Growing conditions
Cunonia capensis prefers a temperate climate that is neither too dry nor too cold and with adequate amounts of water preferably in full sun.
Best season
The Red alder can withstand light frost but is not suited to very dry conditions.
Cuttings taken and planted in early summer grow very successfully. The seeds also germinate readily when covered with a thin layer of fine soil and kept moist.
Growth rate
If kept well watered, Cunonia capensis is one of the fastest growing South African trees.
Various parts of the Red alder are traditionally used to treat nervous complaints. The hard wood is pale to rich red in colour with a lovely fine grain making it suitable for turning. This lovely wood is used to make a variety of attractive household articles and fine furniture.
        C. capensis Foliage & Flowers         C. capensis Seed               C. capensis Stipules