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Searsia lancea


Water Needs

low; moderate; water wise; drought-resistant

Searsia lancea
Tree medium

8 – 9 m


Light Conditions



hardy; extreme frost


greenish-yellow to cream; June – September; winter

Garden Situation

sun; sandy soils; rocky places; container; shrubbery; screen; slope bank; dry soils; windy exposed; security; fast-growing easy-care; wildlife bees birds insects; clay soils;


urban streets; woodland; bushveld; rocky places; coastal East Coast; fynbos; hot dry; grassland


Thicket; Western Cape; Highveld; Karoo; Bushveld savanna

Rain Season

summer; winter

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Searsia species (=Rhus) Almost 70 SA species. Leaves are almost always trifoliate (3 leaflets) and slightly scented when crushed. Flowers: Loose sprays of greenish yellow flowers that attract insects. Fruits: bunches of hanging fruits, slightly flattened red-brown berries that feed birds. Most are generally drought-resistant and are valuable in shrubberies, as windscreens, and to feed wildlife. The larvae of the Common Metallic Longhorn beetle bores into the stems. This evergreen tree is the most widespread of the family occurring in all provinces except KZN. The Karee has either a multi-stemmed shrubby form or a single-stemmed tree with a drooping, spreading canopy. Leaves are trifoliate, long and narrow with the central leaf slightly longer than the 2 side leaves. Sprays of greenish-white to white flowers provide pollen and nectar through winter, signalled by the buzzing of bees easily heard from a distance. Small edible berries follow from September to January, providing a feast for birds and animals. The dark brown bark is rough and fissured. The Karee is an excellent choice to combine a shade tree with food for wildlife. If you’re looking for a resilient tree to plant and forget, this is it. The Karee provides great value in drought-prone areas to provide fodder and wildlife food in tough conditions, and in car parks and urban streets where maintenance is non-existent. The perfect specimen to plant in frost pockets. Fast growth rate of up to 60 cm in cold, dry areas, and double that in warm regions with good rain. Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, Western Cape S. lancea vs S. pendulina: S. lancea: the leaflets longer and narrower than those of S. pendulina, with a thicker, more leathery texture. Colour is a dark olive-green vs the bright green of S. pendulina. The bark is dark brown to black and rough; S. pendulina bark is smooth, roughening with age, but pale to light brown.

Searsia lancea
Searsia lancea
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