Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Halfmens of the Richtersveld

The mysterious and magical Halfmens (Pachypodium namaquanum) occurs only in the dry, rocky, semi desert areas of the extreme north-western Cape or Richtersveld. The common name, Halfmens, refers to their strange tall forms which can quite conceivably be mistaken for humans when viewed against the skyline or at twilight.

These extremely slow growing succulent trees (0.5 – 1.5 cm per year) can reach a height of 5 metres and can become in excess of 100 years old. The succulent stem is thick at the base, tapering towards the apex and topped off by a rosette of grey-green leaves.

An interesting feature of these trees is that the top of the stem always inclines towards the north, giving rise to the mystery and legend that surrounds the Halfmens.

The beautiful legend related by the Khoisan people of Namaqualand, explains their belief that these trees are half human, half plant, and how the Halfmens was created.

The legend tells of how the Khoisan were driven south, away from the Kalahari Desert, their homeland, by invading tribes. They soon found themselves in the fierce and unforgiving landscape of the Richtersveld. Overcome by sorrow, some members of the tribe turned to take one last look northwards towards their homeland. The gods, seeing their distress took pity on them and turned some of them into Halfmens so that they could look northwards toward their beloved homeland for eternity.

The Halfmens, a true icon of the Richtersveld, is an endangered species and is rigorously protected by law.


Peninsula Landscaping opts for Sturdier Trees

We recently spoke to Colin from Peninsula Landscaping who had this to say about the reason why he chose TreeCo trees to complete an installation of over 200 trees at Parklands College in Sandown, Cape Town.
Hardy Trees - Organically Grown

"TreeCo provide trees that are incredibly hardy. Their trees are allowed to grow naturally and are fed organically. They are also already hardened off in the nursery which means that by the time they arrive on site, they are more easily able to adapt to even really harsh conditions" says Colin.

In selecting suitable trees for this particular project, TreeCo ensured that slightly shorter, sturdier trees were chosen, owing to the very windy conditions that the trees would need to assimilate at Parklands College.

"We try to choose the right tree for the site in question" says Rudi, co-owner at TreeCo "This is especially important when the site is a harsh one as we need to ensure that the trees we supply will thrive in their new environment. Ultimately we know that we impact our clients reputation, and by supplying trees of excellent quality, we try and help our clients to in turn deliver a good service".

By accelerating growth, TreeCo believes that one compromises the natural resilience of the tree which is why natural, organic fertilisers that optimise health are fed to trees. In addition, enough space around the tree is provided while it is in the nursery to help it develop a strong trunk. This reduces the need for staking which ultimately retards the natural rate of growth of trees.

Great Service at a Good Price

"Another reason we will often consider TreeCo as a supplier is because of their service. We get to speak to the owners of the business and have a personalised relationship with them. They keep to their promises by delivering orders on schedule and their prices are excellent. That in conjunction with the quality of their trees makes them an obvious choice for us" says Colin.

TreeCo is an owner managed business and clients enjoy a one-on-one relationship with Rudi and Leske who are the owners the nursery. They personally select each of the trees that our clients receive and are on site when the delivery of the trees takes place.

This approach along with the quality standard of the trees that TreeCo supplies, translates to an complete value cycle that provides the landscaping industry with a solid alternative in the supply of outstanding, reliable quality big trees. Make TreeCo your choice when purchasing trees for your next project and experience their outstanding service for yourself.

Availability List - May 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.

TreeCo Big Tree Gallery - May 2012


Spectacular Monthly Tree for May 2012 - Searsia lancea (Karee)

Searsia lancea (previously known as Rhus lancea) is an attractive, small to medium sized evergreen tree that is widely cultivated as a garden ornamental. This drought and frost tolerant species has a neat rounded crown with dark, olive green leaves and yellowish-brown fruit which is much relished by a variety of birds. The non-invasive root system makes this a highly suitable choice for small gardens as well as any built up and paved public areas. The rough bark is dark brown to blackish and is used for tanning while the fruit is pounded with water and brewed into a tasty beer. We currently have a large stock of really stunning specimens of this lovely tree available so pop in and see us and get yours planted now, before the onset of winter.

 Botanical Name
Searsia lancea
Common Name                Karee / Rooikaree           
Bag Size 50lt and 100lt
Quantity Available 200 (50lt) 150 (100lt)
Average Tree Height
& Trunk Thickness
2.3m (50lt) 2.5-3m (100lt)
3cm (50lt) 5cm (100lt)



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 May 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.

Dovyalis caffra (Kei apple)

Dovyalis caffra is an attractive, much-branched small to medium sized evergreen tree with a dense rounded crown, lovely glossy foliage and distinctive apricot-like fruit. This appealing tree is dioecious so the male and female plants are separate. Not only is the hardy Kei apple becoming increasingly popular as a garden subject locally, but nowadays it is being cultivated as far afield as Australia, California and the Mediterranean countries. Birds and insects flock to this delightful tree when the flowers and fruits appear, and play a vital role in the successful pollination of the Kei apple.

Botanical Name
Dovyalis caffra
Common Name
Kei apple
RSA National Tree No’
 The useful Dovyalis caffra is not only attractive but a true all-rounder. Being able to withstand the harshest conditions such as severe drought, frost and salt laden winds, this truly marvelous species lends itself to numerous landscaping applications. The Kei apple looks equally attractive either as a single specimen, when included in a border or as a screen. In areas where an impenetrable yet ornamental hedge is required, the thorny Dovyalis caffra is unsurpassed. This rewarding tree can easily be trimmed to create a neat and compact shape where space is at a premium and, where both male and female trees are planted, these wonderful small trees will cover themselves with copious amounts of delicious fruit in summer.
Height 5 – 9 m
3 – 5 m
Growth Habit
The Kei apple is found naturally in dry woodland, valley bushveld, grassland and along forest margins.
The rough, corky, white to pale grey bark is longitudinally fissured with strong straight spines on the branches.
The simple ovate, glossy dark green leaves are 3 – 6 cm long and are borne in tight clusters at the base of the spines.
The inconspicuous creamy green flowers appear from November to December. Female flowers appear in groups of two to three in the leaf axils while the male flowers appear in dense axillary clusters.
The edible, velvety, globose fruit are apricot coloured and up to 40 mm in diameter.
The seeds are a creamy colour and are approximately 3 mm wide and 5 mm long.
Growing regions
The Kei apple is found from the Kei river in the Eastern Cape all along the eastern parts of the country through Kwa Zulu Natal, Swaziland, the Northern Province and all the way up to Tanzania.
Growing conditions
Dovyalis caffra has no special growth requirements but will respond well to the addition of compost and adequate amounts of water.
Best season
This is an extremely hardy species being able to withstand long periods of drought as well as temperatures as low as 6 degrees below freezing point.
The Kei apple is easily propagated from seed which has been cleaned and allowed to dry and then planted in a good seedling mix and kept moist. Propagation from cuttings which have been dipped in a rooting medium is also highly successful.
Growth rate
Moderate – up to 600 mm per year.
Dovyalis caffra is an important food source in parts of southern Africa and is being developed as a sustainable source of income for several communities throughout the region. The fruit, which is high in vitamin C and somewhat acidic, is delicious when sprinkled with sugar while excellent jams, jellies and pickles can also be made with the fruit.

Dovyalis caffra flowersDovyalis caffra fruitDovyalis caffra leaves and thorns