Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Modjadji Cycad

The impressive Modjadji cycad (Encepharlatos transvenosus), also known as “Modjadjis palm” is named after the Rain Queen Modjadji of the Balobedu people who reside in the Duiwelskloof area of Limpopo.

Endemic to Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, and in danger of extinction, in 1979 the Modjadji Nature Reserve was established to the north of Tzaneen by the Department of Water Affairs and Tourism (DWAF) to protect these magnificent trees.

The Modjadji Cycad is one of the largest cycads found in South Africa and the tallest in the world, growing to a towering height of 13 metres with a 45 centimetre diameter trunk and leaves up to 2 ½ metres long and has a lifespan of around 100 years.

These living fossils date back to the Mezazoic period or Stone Age when dinosaurs roamed the earth, a time when they were plentiful around the world. Today however due to the destruction of their natural habitat and excessive harvesting due to the high prices fetched by these ancient plants, they are a protected species.

Legends about the famous Rain Queen Modjadji abound, and today she is seen as a respected protector of the Modjadji cycad. For centuries the dense forest around The Rain Queen’s home, where the ancient Modjadji cycads are found, was used for traditional ceremonies by the Balobedu people. Queen Modjadji, recognising the importance of the forest, bequeathed it to the National Government resulting in the establishment of the Modjadji Nature Reserve.

In the Modjadji Nature Reserve, this magnificent cycad, known as ‘mofaka’ in the local dialect, represents the highest concentration of a single species of cycad in the world.

Launch of our Weekly Availability List

In response to your requests for us to send an updated Availability list to you on a weekly basis, we launched our weekly Availability List mailer in March. Watch your inbox every Monday for the latest edition. Every week we will be featuring a new tree on special so be sure to place your orders early! Please note that the weekly Availability List for week two of April will be sent out on Tuesday the 10th April on account of the Easter weekend. 

If you arent already receiving our monthly newsletter and weekly availability list - then sign-up for our mailers today!

Download our Availability List for April 2012!

TreeCo provides our readers with a downloadable, updated Availability List every month.
Please note that should you not find the tree that you are looking for on this list, TreeCo will readily source what you require, on your behalf. Rudi and Leske Neethling personally ensure that all trees supplied by TreeCo, conform to our high quality standards.
Please CLICK HERE to download our latest Availability List.
This document is available as a PDF document and will require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader loaded on your computer, please click on the link below which will allow you to download this free program quickly and easily.

Spectacular Monthly Tree for April 2012 - Trichelia emetica

Our selection for the Spectacular Monthly Tree this April is the magnificent Trichilia emetica. Commonly referred to as the Natal Mahogany, this spectacular tree is an evergreen hardwood. The lovely glossy, deep green, drooping foliage forms a rounded crown, creating dense, dark shade. With its low branching habit and sturdy single trunk the Natal mahogany has long been one of our most popular indigenous ornamental trees. When the flowers begin to appear from December, the sweet scent can be enjoyed on warm summer evenings while those beautiful jewels of the garden, the sunbirds, can be observed delighting in the generous amounts of nectar. The bright red and black seeds are enjoyed by a number of bird species while a variety of butterfly larvae feed on this tree.
 Botanical Name
Trichelia emetica
Common Name                Natal Mahogany            
Bag Size 200lt
Quantity Available 60
Average Tree Height
& Trunk Thickness
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
Availability List for April 2012

TreeCo provides our readers with a downloadable, updated Availability List every month.
Please note that should you not find the tree that you are looking for on this list, TreeCo will readily source what you require, on your behalf. Rudi and Leske Neethling personally ensure that all trees supplied by TreeCo, conform to our high quality standards.
Please CLICK HERE to download our latest Availability List.

Halleria lucida (Tree fuchsia)

Halleria lucida is a delightful multi stemmed, evergreen, small to medium sized tree, with a spreading crown and elegantly arching branches. The bright glossy green foliage and showy, bright red, trumpet shaped flowers make this one of our most sought after indigenous garden subjects. The tough, easy to grow Tree fuchsia adapts well to a wide variety of growing conditions while the nectar laden flowers attract a host of different sunbird species and the sweet, fleshy, black fruit are relished by a wide variety of fruit eating birds. So popular is Halleria lucida, that it has been in cultivation in South Africa since as far back as the 18th century while a specimen that was growing in a greenhouse in England was recorded as far back as the early 19th century..
Botanical Name
Halleria lucida
Common Name
Tree fuchsia
RSA National Tree No’
If you are looking for a tree that will provide a vivid splash of colour in the garden, or for cool evergreen shade, the delightful Tree fuchsia is a must. This adaptable tree will create a stunning focal point in a small or a larger garden or, for a truly splendid display, plant a group of 3 to 5 of these beautiful trees. The versatile, fast growing Halleria lucida, will look equally at home in a tropical setting, in a fynbos garden or even in a cottage style garden. The Tree fuchsia works extremely well as an informal hedge or anywhere that an attractive screening plant is sought while for patios and paved areas these easy to maintain trees look absolutely lovely in large pots. 
Height 2 - 12 m
2 - 4 m
Growth Habit
Halleria lucida occurs naturally in coastal scrub, evergreen forest and forest margins, in ravines near rivers and streams as well as on exposed rocky mountain slopes
The pale grey to brown bark of the Tree fuchsia is longitudinally fissured and flakes in long, loose strips
The shiny, ovate, bright green leaves are thinly leathery with a droopy habit, broadly tapering at the base and with a finely toothed or scalloped margin
The nectar rich, bright red trumpet shaped flowers appear from May to January in small clusters in the buds of young shoots and in large, showy clusters on the main stem and older branches of this delightful tree
Appearing on the main stem and thick branches from August, the fleshy, berry like fruit is crowned by the wispy remains of the style and is green when young, ripening to a deep purplish-black
The seed consists of tiny black flakes which are found in the jelly-like flesh of the fruit
Growing regions
Halleria lucida is found growing all the way from the Cape Peninsula in the south, right around the south and east coast of South Africa, as well as through the eastern Free State, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mpumalanga
Growing conditions
The showy Tree fuchsia thrives in well drained soil to which plenty of compost has been added and with regular watering throughout the year
Best season
Winter - Summer
The lovely Halleria lucida will withstand both drought and frost
Propagation by seed is easy and highly successful but if a faster method is preferred cuttings take readily as well
Growth rate
Halleria lucida has long been used medicinally by the Zulu nation for skin ailments and ear complaints. Traditionally, this tree has been attributed with magical powers and is used to ward off evil as well as offering protection from wizardry and lightning. The pale yellow timber which is likened to olive wood is strong and hard and was used for carpentry, tools, spear shafts and wagon poles.

                  H. lucida Flowers & Bark                           H. lucida Fruit                                     H. lucida Leaves