Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Important Plant Families in South Africa - Rutaceae

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.

Rutaceae (Citrus family)

This large and widespread family is well known world wide and is represented by about 26 tree species in South Africa. Most of the plants in this family have aromatic glands in the leaves that release a distinctive, often citrus like fragrance when crushed. These glands can be seen as translucent dots by holding the leaves up to the light.

Members of this family are generally easy to identify as trees that have alternate, trifoliate, palmate or pinnate leaves with secretory cavities in the lamina usually belong to this group. The exception is Calodendrum capense (Cape chestnut) in that it has opposite as well as simple leaves.

The flowers of the Rutaceae family can be easily identified by the large or superior ovary and the presence of 10 or fewer stamens.

The Rutaceae family is of great economic importance with the most valuable members yielding citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, mandarins, limes, tangerines and grapefruit. Numerous species are cultivated for their precious essential oils such as Neroli and Bergamot that are used in the natural healing and perfume industries. All the various types of buchu that are highly regarded for their diverse medicinal properties are obtained from shrubs belonging to this family. Ruta graveolens (Rue) is another popular medicinal plant belonging to this group. Some of the forest species yield an attractive, yellowish timber that is used for furniture.

Members of this family include the beautiful Calodendrum capense (Cape chestnut), Zanthoxylum davyi (Knobwood), Vepris undulata (White ironwood), Clausena anisata (Horsewood), Fagaropsis angolensis (Fagaropsis) and Zanthoxylum capense (Small knobwood).

Classification Euphorbia family

Notice of Price Increase

At TreeCo we have not increased our tree prices for the last 3 years, however on account of the recent petrol price increase, among other running cost increases, we have been forced to effect a marginal increase.

Wholesale and trade customers will continue to receive a discounted rate, while retail customers will still see significant savings in purchasing their trees from us directly, despite the marginal price increase.

Our new prices are as follows:

(Prices quoted are ex Vat and delivery)

Tree Size
R 300
R 400
R 600
R 800
R 1300
R 1600

Please contact Rudi on 082 829 5543 or Leske on 072 385 0270 to discuss pricing for our 1000lt specimen, or email us at

Spectacular Monthly Tree - April 2013

Nuxia floribunda is an ornamental evergreen tree with magnificent, large clusters of fragrant creamy white flowers in autumn and winter that lend a hazy, lacy beauty to the tree. Reaching a height of 3 – 10m, the lovely Forest elder grows wild in the coastal forests of the south-eastern and eastern Cape, Kwa Zulu Natal and north towards Swaziland and Mpumalanga. The 150 x 50mm long, glossy green leaves are simple and oblong, appearing in whorls of 3. This splendid tree grows quickly when given enriched soil, plenty of sun and moderate quantities of water. Nuxia floribunda is a truly superb addition to any landscape and deserves to be more extensively planted along the streets as well as in the public areas of our cities.

On special at just R 4700 ex Vat and delivery.

Botanical Name
Nuxia floribunda     
Common Name
Forest elder
Size Available
R 4700
Average Tree Height
5 - 6.0m
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

Availability List for April 2013

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.

Galpinia transvaalica (Wild Pride of India)

Galpinia transvaalica is fast gaining popularity as a valuable and adaptable evergreen ornamental tree. Although this tree is naturally multi stemmed it can easily be turned into a single stemmed specimen with careful pruning. The highly decorative Wild Pride of India has an attractive rounded crown and produces an ever changing and colourful palette for much of the year as the older leaves turn bright crimson in spring before they fall, followed by the spectacular trusses of white flowers in summer and the clusters of bold red fruits in autumn. The lovely flowers attract hosts of insects which in turn attract a variety of insectivorous birds to the garden.
Botanical Name
Galpinia transvaalica
Common Name
Wild Pride of India
RSA National Tree No’
The Wild Pride of India is a beautiful addition to any garden but lends itself particularly well to the smaller or townhouse garden. The non-invasive root system makes it perfect for poolside planting or for any paved or restricted area. This fast growing, showy tree makes a lovely shade tree but can be very successfully pruned or trained into a hedge to form an attractive and colorful wind break, to create privacy or to screen unsightly walls or buildings or, as a beautiful evergreen backdrop to other plants. Where space permits, Wild Pride of India looks stunning when planted in groups of 5 or more. The small root system makes Galpinia transvaalica an excellent subject for large pots on patios and paved areas and is much sought after by bonsai enthusiasts.
Height6 – 9m
4 - 6 m
Growth Habit
Galpinia transvaalica occurs naturally at medium to low altitudes, mostly in  rocky areas of bushveld and woodland.
The bark is pale and attractive with a smooth texture on young trees becoming darker and cracking into blocks on older trees.
The opposite, leaves have conspicuously wavy margins and are glossy dark green on top and a dull, pale green below with thick set petioles. In spring the new growth is tinged a coppery pink shade while the older leaves turn a striking deep crimson before dropping.
Striking, dense, white to cream terminal and axillary flower sprays appear from November to May. Each flower has a bell shaped calyx and attractively crinkled petals.
The pink to reddish fruit appears in compact clusters from April to July. Each fruit consists of a 3-4mm round capsule with a hard skin that splits open when mature.
The small winged seeds are brownish.
Growing regions
The Wild Pride of India is found from Kwa Zulu Natal through Swaziland and up to Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
Growing conditions
These lovely trees prefer a sunny position and although they are not fussy about soil, will do well if given a generous application of compost and organic fertiliser in spring.
Best season
All year
Galpinia transvaalica will tolerate light frost as well as drought conditions.
The seeds should be sown in a light soil mix in seed trays and transplanted into individual bags when 2 pairs of leaves have appeared.
Growth rate
These trees are fast growing and will grow up to a metre in a year.
The hard, heavy wood of Galpinia transvaalica is fine grained and pale brown to yellowish brown. This wood is much sought after for turnery as well as the manufacture of fine furniture and decorative household items. This is an important fodder plant on game farms and cattle farms.

Galpinia flowersGalpinia foliageRapanea Leaves
           G. transvaalica Flowers                   G. transvaalica Foliage                   G. transvaalica Bark