South African plants for Cape Town gardens

  Trees and Large Shrubs

 

Scientific name

Common name

Brief description

Indigenous to Cape Town

Calcar-
eous sand

Acid sand

Clay

Sun

Shade

Animals

Brachylaena discolor

Coastal Silver Oak, Kusvaalbos

Tough, wind-tolerant shrubby tree to 10 m; underside of leaves white

 

 

Birds collect seeds to line their nests

Buddleja auriculata

Weeping Sage, Treursalie

Evergreen shrub with weeping shape; sprays of sweetly scented cream flowers

 

Flowers attract butterflies

Buddleja saligna

False olive, Witolienhout

Fast growing medium tree 4-7 m; Dark green shiny leaves with grey underside; sweetly scented cream flowers in Spring.

(Berg River northwards)

 

 

Flowers attract butterflies

Buddleja salviifolia

Sagewood, Buddleia

Large, willowy shrub or small tree to 7 m; sweetly scented white to purple flowers in Spring

(Clanwilliam northwards)

 

 

Flowers attract butterflies

Cunonia capensis

Red Alder, Rooiels

Tall evergreen tree 20-30 m; glossy compound leaves, showy spikes of white flowers; prefers wet areas

 

 

 

Scientific name

Common name

Brief description

Indigenous to Cape Town

Calcar-
eous sand

Acid sand

Clay

Sun

Shade

Animals

Curtisia dentata

Assegaai

Evergreen tree with glossy leaves, 6-12 m; White fruits

 

Fruit attracts birds

Cussonia spicata

Common Cabbage Tree, Gewone Kiepersol

Attractive fast-growing tree 5-10 m; large bluish green leaves

(Swartberg Mts northwards)

 

 

Cussonia thrysiflora

Cape Coast Cabbage Tree, Kuskiepersol

Low-growing shrub to 5 m with fan-shaped evergreen leaves

 

 

Diospyros whyteana

Bostolbos, Bladder Nut, Blackwood

Small evergreen tree 2-4 m; shiny dark green leaves; papery case around fruit

 

 

Diospyros scabrida

Hard-Leaved Monkey Plum

Small tree 2-3m with glossy, leathery leaves with dense hairs below; Clusters of white flowers in Summer; red fruits encased in calyx

 

 

 

 

Scientific name

Common name

Brief description

Indigenous to Cape Town

Calcar-
eous sand

Acid sand

Clay

Sun

Shade

Animals

Ekebergia capensis

Cape Ash, Essenhout

Evergreen shade tree to 10 m; dark, glossy compound leaves; red berries in late Summer

 

 

Berries attract birds

Ficus natalensis

Natal Fig, Natalvy

Wind-tolerant shade tree to 12 m; small, dark green, glossy leaves; bears small figs in Spring

 

 

Fruit attracts birds

Gymnosporia buxifolia (previously Maytenus heterophylla) Common Spike-Thorn, Gewone Pendoring

Shrub or small tree to 5 m; Sharp spines, clusters of leaves; heads of whitish flowers followed by greenish-yellow fruits. Good coastal plant.

 

 

Fruit attracts birds

Leucospermum conocarpodendron

Grey Tree Pincushion, Vaalkreupelhout

Large rounded shrub to 5 m; yellow pincushion flowers from Spring to Summer

 

 

Flowers attract sunbirds

Loxystylis alata

Wild pepper tree, Teerhout

Small evergreen tree to 4 m; bunches of pink flowers

(Van Stadens Mts to KZN)

 

 

 

 

Scientific name

Common name

Brief description

Indigenous to Cape Town

Calcar-
eous sand

Acid sand

Clay

Sun

Shade

Animals

Olea europaea spp. africana

Wild Olive, Olienhout

Small drought-tolerant tree to 8 m; narrow grey-green leaves; black berries; good windbreak

 

Fruit attracts birds

Pittosporum viridiflorum

Pittosporum, Kasuur

Small tree 4-8 m with bright green leaves; good hedge plant; scented greenish flowers in Summer

(Swellendam northwards)

 

Fruit attracts birds

Podalyria calyptrata

Sweetpea Bush, Keurtije

Shrub to 3 m with grey-green leaves; scented lilac sweetpea flowers in Spring

 

Flowers attract carpenter bees

Podocarpus latifolius

Real Yellowwood, Opregtegeelhout

Straight tree 5-20 m; leathery, blue-green, glossy leaves

 

fruits attract birds & bats

Psychotria capensis

Bird Berry, VoŽlbessiebos

Shrub 2-4 m; glossy leaves; yellow flowers; red berries

(Knysna northwards)

 

 

Fruit attracts birds

 

Scientific name

Common name

Brief description

Indigenous to Cape Town

Calcar-
eous sand

Acid sand

Clay

Sun

Shade

Animals

Pterocelastrus tricuspidatus

Kershout

Multi-stemmed tree or shrub to 7 m. Glossy green leaves are red when young. Creamy white flowers and orange fruit. Good for coastal gardens.

 

Fruit attracts birds

Sideroxylon inerme

White Milkwood, Witmelkhout

Slow-growing, hardy tree 4-8 m; dense, glossy leaves; flowers have an unpleasant smell

 

Fruit attracts birds

Syzygium cordatum

Waterberry, Waterbessie, Umdoni

Fast-growing, wind-tolerant tree 5-10 m; dark green leaves; sweet scented white flowers in Summer; large red berries in Autumn

 

 

Fruit attract birds like bulbuls and starlings

Tarchonanthus camphoratus

Camphor Tree Kanferboom

Very hardy, shrubby tree 4-6 m; camphor-scented leaves and white flowers

 

Fruit used by birds to line nests

Virgilia oroboides

Keurboom, Blossom Tree

Fast-growing tree to 8 m; scented pink pea-flowers in Spring & Summer

 

 

Flowers attract carpenter bees