shade; semi-shade; sun
red orange May to December; autumn winter spring
sun; semi-shade; light shade; wildlife bees birds insects; feature tree; small area tree; shade tree; damp sun; damp shade; water; narrow spaces; fast-growing easy-care
woodland forest; coastal eastern cape; coastal kzn; grassland; bushveld; hot dry; fynbos; rocky places; urban streets
thicket; subtropical east coast; highveld; bushveld savanna; western cape
ainfall season summer; winter
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A stand of Halleria lucida in full flower is one of the more glorious sights in an early winter garden. The red fuchsia shaped flowers are massed along the branches tucked beneath the leaves; around Durban and just inland, flower clusters are so dense and numerous it's as if the tree is alight. And the buzzing of contented bees can be heard from meters away. Yet these floral shows are far less impressive in Mpumalanga, suggests Graham Grieve of the Pondoland CREW from his years living up there. No matter, this is a must-have species for the garden that feeds the wildlife and adds such beauty through winter. The Halleria is a small tree, usually growing to 5m, with a variable shape depending on its growing situation. Usually multi-stemmed, it makes an effective screen. As flowers grow on the old wood, a light trim to encourage dense foliage and a neater shape shouldn’t affect the show. Bright glossy green leaves are small, with slight serrations – the species name, ‘lucida’ means ‘glossy’ – providing most attractive foliage year-round. New branch growth is smooth and light brown becoming grey-brown, rough and strongly fissured with age, one of the species most attractive features The flowers appear anytime from mid-may onwards, and it is interesting to note quite a range of red and orange shades. Tubular in shape they open progressively through the season extending the feeding season and birds will visit from far and wide to feed on the largesse of this small tree. Large green berries soon appear; these ripen to a purple-black, and when they do, a bird party ensues. Many of the larger birds, like the Lourie (Turaco), join with the smaller Bulbuls, and Barbets, often at the same time as the nectar feeders as the flowers are on show from May through to December, and the fruits form from August onwards. It really is a tree no garden should be without, feeding as it does, a variety of insects as well as nectar, insect and fruit feeding birds. Walk past on a warm day, and the flowers are covered in bees, and with our bee numbers under stress, this is an excellent plant for our buzzing friends - it really is quite a special tree. And it is multi-functional; use it to add height as part of a mixed screen, to bring seasonal colour and wildlife food to the woodland undercanopy or as a focal point in a shady bed. It is one of few frost resistant trees, and it provides a protective canopy for frost sensitive plants. It has a wide distribution area, from the Cape peninsula, up the eastern coast of South Africa, through the Eastern Cape to Lesotho, the eastern Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Swaziland. It is also found in Mpumalanga, Gauteng and the Northern and North West Province. Habitat zones are as varied as its range, growing in coastal scrub, deep evergreen forest, forest margins, and forested ravines, rocky mountain slopes, near rivers and on stream banks.