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Halleria lucida

   (Family: Scrophulariaceae)
Afrikaans: Notsung English: Tree Fuchsia Xhosa: umBinza  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Tree
Height: 2 - 12m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (light)
  Frost Tolerant (light)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Preferred rainfall: Winter
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
  Loam (gritty, moist, and retains water easily)
Flowering time EDIT
        x x x x x x x x
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower shape
  Flower info
  The flowers are tubular, orange to brick-red, or yellow, very rich in nectar and are produced in clusters in the axils of leaves and on short shoots on the old wood, even on the main trunk. When in full flower in autumn to summer (May to December/January) it can be very showy, although the flowers are somewhat hidden amongst the leaves and inside the canopy.
Leaf margin
Leaf type
Leaf arrangement
Leaf texture Smooth
Bark / Stem type
  Leaf info EDIT
  Glossy bright green foliage
Fruit type EDIT
Fruit colour
Sow seeds in Spring
Edible, but never tasty, not even when ripe. They have a sickly sweet taste and tend to dry the mouth.
Seed colour
  Seed info EDIT
  Clusters of 10 mm diameter spherical green berries that turn juicy and black when ripe, follow the flowers (August onwards).The seeds are very small black flakes in the jelly-like flesh of the fruit.
Description EDIT
An evergreen tree or large shrub, often multi-stemmed, with a spreading crown and attractive glossy bright green foliage on arching and drooping branches.

The flowers are tubular, orange to brick-red, or yellow, very rich in nectar.

In the more exposed situations it is generally a stocky or shrubby tree that reaches a height of 2-5 m but in well watered, protected situations it can reach up to 12 m, and in forests, it can grow up to 20 m in height.
Growing EDIT
Halleria lucida is tough and easy to grow, and thrives under many different conditions. It is fast growing, and performs best in well-drained nutrient-rich loam with water provided all year round although it tolerates periods of drought. It is relatively hardy to frost (zone 9: minimum -7 °C/ 20 °F) but requires protection when young.

Halleria lucida is easily propagated by seed, and cuttings. It can also be propagated by truncheon cuttings or layering and transplants readily. Young plants may flower for the first time in their second year.Seed is best sown in spring to mid-summer (September to December) or in autumn (March to May), in a standard well-drained seedling mix and covered lightly with coarse sand or milled bark. The trays can be placed over bottom heat of 25 °C although this is not essential for germination to occur. Seed should germinate within 6 weeks. Seedlings can be transplanted as soon as they are large enough to handle.

Softwood or herbaceous cuttings, or heel cuttings should be taken from actively growing shoots in spring to early summer (September to November) or in autumn (March to May), treated with a rooting hormone and placed in a propagator with intermittent mist and bottom heat of 28 °C. Rooting should occur within 6 weeks, and the newly rooted cuttings require a weaning period of 1 month.
Distribution EDIT
found in coastal and karroid scrub, deep evergreen forest, forest margins, forested ravines, rocky mountain slopes, near rivers and on stream banks from the Cape peninsula in the south in a strip up the eastern coast of South Africa, through the Eastern Cape to Lesotho, the eastern Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Swaziland where it turns inland and roughly follows the escarpment into Mpumalanga, Gauteng and the Northern and North West Province. It also occurs in isolated pockets in Zimbabwe.
History EDIT
One of the best bird attracting trees.
Halleria lucida makes a shapely specimen tree for the smaller garden.
It is suitable for use as an informal hedge, and can be planted in a large container.

The Zulu nation has a strong belief in traditional medicine and they use Halleria lucida for skin and ear complaints. Dry leaves are soaked in water and squeezed into the ear to relieve earache. This tree is also considered to be a charm against evil. The twigs are burnt when offering sacrifices to the ancestral spirits. The plants are set alight each year, the ashes mixed with crocodile fat and this mixture is smeared onto cuttings of Rhamnus prinoides which are then driven into the ground around the village to protect the community from wizardry and lightning.

The wood can also be used to start a fire by friction. Halleria lucida timber is light coloured tinged with yellow, hard, heavy and strong, well suited to carpentry, but is not much used because the pieces are small. It was once valued for wagon poles, tools and spear shafts.
Ecology EDIT
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