Common names:Tree-fuchsia. notsung
The tree-funchsia is usually a shrub or a small tree that occurs in the forest areas or grassland. It often grows along streams or in rocky places (Van Wyk.,2013). Ricardo Januarie our alien clearing project manager at the conservancy speaks about his favourite tree and says, “Oh I love this tree because of all the different kinds of birds that it attracts”. The tree-funchia has these bright orange flowers which attract nectar feeding birds. Bees and other insects are also seen feeding on its flowers.”
This tree flowers from May to December (Autumn to summer). The flowers are small in red clusters. Sunbirds (except the greater double collared sunbird) and sugarbirds usually feeds on the nectar of the flowers (Stirton.,1977).
The tree has a fleshy fruit (Adedapo et., al.2008) and these turn black when they ripen. The fruit is edible but not appetizing (Van Wyk.,2013). Times for fruiting is August until January (Plantbook.co.za).
Various parts of the fruit are used in traditional medicine. It has antibacterial and antioxidant properties in both the leaves and stems (Adelapo et., al.2008). Helleria lucida is used by Zulu tribes to treat skin and ear difficulties. It was traditionally used by the Zulu tribes in the following way- the leaves were dried and then soaked in water and then squeezed into the ear to relieve pain. The tree is also considered a charm against evil (Adelapo et., al.2008). The leaves can be eaten by livestock, including wild animals such as Eland (Adelapo et., al 2008).
The wood is hard enough to make panga handles with (Trees SA) and is a good container plant and is low maintenance when growing in a garden (Trees SA). Look out for this amazing indigenous tree in your local nursery.
Stay tuned for other exiting trees.
Adedapo, A.A., Jimoh, F.O., Koduru, S., Masika, P.J. and Afolayan, A.J., 2008. Evaluation of the
medicinal potentials of the methanol extracts of the leaves and stems of Halleria
lucida. Bioresource technology, 99(10), pp.4158-4163.
Stirton, C.H., 1977. A note on the flowers of Halleria lucida. Bothalia, 12(2), pp.223-224.
Van Wyk, B., 2013. Field guide to trees of southern Africa. Penguin Random House South Africa.
GVB Conservancy Staff