Tuesday, February 12, 2013

February 2013 Availability List

TreeCo provides our readers with a downloadable, updated Availability List every month. Please click on the button below to view our most recent list.


Important Plant Families in South Africa - Euphorbiaceae

In order to facilitate the identification of our wealth of lovely South African trees, it is helpful to be familiar with the most prominent plant families in an area, as well as the characteristics that distinguish each plant family. Every month we will feature one of the most important and well represented plant families, focusing on easily recognisable features to assist identification.

Euphorbiaceae (Euphorbia family)

The Euphorbias are a huge family in Southern Africa comprising over 100 tree species. This heterogeneous species shows great variation in floral and vegetative structures.

The most well known genus of this important family is Euphorbia, the large, thorny, succulent plants with milky latex that are often mistaken for cactus. However, this family includes many plants that do not resemble cacti at all.

A common feature of the majority of the euphorbias is the presence of watery or white latex. With a few exceptions, all have simple, alternate leaves with a pair of glands at the base of the leaf blades as well as stipule scars.

Members of this large family usually produce three lobed fruits that are often crowned by three persistent stigmas.

A combination of toothed or serrated leaf margins, milky or watery latex and stem succulence define this family. Many are poisonous while some have medicinal properties.

Hevea brasiliensis is the most economically important of this family as most of the world’s natural rubber is obtained from it. In tropical countries, the starchy tubers of Manihot esculenta provide tapioca and cassava.

Examples of this family include; Croton gratissimus (Lavender fever – berry), Sapium ellipticum (Jumping seed tree), Antidesma venosum (Tassel berry), Pseudolachnostylis (Kudu berry), Dovyalis rhamnoides (Common sour berry).

Classification Euphorbia family

Spectacular Monthly Tree - February 2013

The dense, dark green, drooping canopy of the magnificent Ficus natalensis makes it one of our finest indigenous shade trees. The size and growth habit of this handsome tree varies widely, depending on the climate and general growing conditions. In the Cape region for example, the Natal Fig has a neat single trunk and tends to be smaller than it’s counterparts growing in subtropical regions, where the canopy becomes far wider with a profusion of aerial roots and a buttressed trunk. The fruit or figs that are produced prolifically by these adaptable trees, while not suitable for human consumption, attract a great diversity of wildlife to the garden from birds to bats and a variety of insects. The versatile Ficus natalensis is wind and drought resistant and tolerates temperatures from -5C – 30+C.

Our Natal Figs are looking absolutely spectacular, so don't hesitate to place your order with us today.

Botanical Name
Ficus natalensis     
Common Name
Natal Fig
Size Available
Quantity in Stock
Average Tree Height
Average 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 info@treeco.co.za

Availability List for February 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.

Rapanea melanophloeos (Cape beech)

Rapanea melanophloeos or Cape beech is a large, handsome evergreen with a dense, spreading crown. These, straight, slender trees are found growing up to altitudes of 1700m and are common in the kloofs on Table Mountain. The pinkish red colour of the young leaves and stalks as well as the striking purple of the profusion of berries makes this a very decorative addition to the landscape. Birds, bees and small mammals find the flowers and berries irresistible while the many branched crown has the added advantage of providing excellent nesting sites for birds as well. Cape beech is not related to the well known Beech of the northern hemisphere but is a close relative of the Rhododendron.
Botanical Name
Rapanea melanophloeos
Common Name
Cape beech
RSA National Tree No’
 The elegant Cape beech will add a truly lovely dimension to the large garden. This hardy species is especially useful as a formidable windbreak in coastal gardens while its dense, bushy habit makes it an excellent option as a screening plant where privacy is needed. Rapanea melanophloeos requires very little maintenance but as the roots are invasive and it tends to send up suckers, it is advisable to plant these decorative trees away from paved areas and buildings.  
Height6 – 18m
3 – 6 m
Growth Habit
The Cape beech is usually found in moist coastal and mountain forests as well as in bushy areas and swamps.
The bark is grey  or white and fairly smooth becoming darker and somewhat rougher and fissured in older specimens.
The thick, oblong, leathery, leaves are simple and crowded at the ends of slightly knobby branchlets. The hairless leaves are dull dark green on top and paler green underneath with young leaves often appearing bright pinkish red with a purplish leaf stalk.
The small greenish white or cream flowers appear on older wood below the leaves from June to December.
The round, fleshy, fruit is up to 5mm in diameter, green when young and turning purple as they ripen.
The single, small dark seeds are roundish.
Growing regions
Rapanea melanophloeos is widespread along the east coast of South Africa and can be found from the Cape Peninsula through the Eastern Cape to Kwa Zulu – Natal and up as far as Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
Growing conditions
The Cape beech enjoys a sunny or semi shaded position. Spread thick mulch around the base of the tree to keep the roots cool and moist. Feed with high nitrogen organic fertilizer and water regularly to encourage optimum growth.
Best season
Winter / Summer
Rapanea melanophloeos is hardy and can withstand wind as well as some drought.
Sow seed in spring or early summer in a well drained seedling mix and place in a moist, shady position until germination takes place.
Growth rate
Average to fast depending on conditions.
The superior quality, hard, heavy, pinkish brown wood of the Cape beech has long been sought after for the manufacture of fine furniture that shows off the beautiful grain to best advantage. This lovely wood is also used to make violins. The bark and roots are used medicinally for the treatment of respiratory, muscular and heart complaints. The Nguni people believed that the bark would ward off evil and protect them from lightning.

Rapanea flowersRapanea fruitRapanea Leaves
          R. melanophloeos Foliage and Flowers                   R. melanophloeos Fruit                               R. melanophloeos Foliage