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Leucosidea sericea

   (Family: Rosaceae)
Afrikaans: Ouhout English: Oldwood N. Sotho: mosino Sotho: cheche Swazi: umchitsi Venda: munyonga-tshifumbu Xhosa: umtyitya Zulu: umtshitshi  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Tree
Tree No.: 145
Height: 7m
Spread: 5m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (light)
  Frost Tolerant (heavy)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Preferred rainfall: Summer
Preferred altitude: 10000m
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
  Loam (gritty, moist, and retains water easily),
Clay (fine texture, holds a lot of water),
Sand (coarse texture, drains easily)
Biome: Grassland
Flowering time EDIT
              x x      
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower shape
Flower type
  Bees and other insects
  Flower info
  The flowers are greenish-yellow in colour, star-shaped, and grow in spikes at the ends of young shoots in spring.
Leaf margin
Leaf type
Leaf arrangement
Leaf texture Hairy
Bark / Stem type
  Leaf scent
  Strong herb-like smell
  Leaf info EDIT
  The leaves are alternately arranged, compound and covered with silky, silver hairs. Each leaf possesses 3 to 4 pairs of leaflets. The veins on the leaves are deeply sunken on the upper surface and protrude on the lower surface. The leaves are a dark green colour above and a lighter green colour below. The margins of the leaflets are deeply serrated.
Fruit type EDIT
Fruit size Length: 3mm   Width: 3mm
  Seed info EDIT
  The fruits are nut-like and about 3 mm in diameter
Description EDIT
Straggly shrub or a dense, small, low branching evergreen tree, which grows up to 7m tall to 5m wide.
The bark is rough, reddish brown in colour and flakes off to reveal a smooth light brown under-bark.
Greenish-yellow star-shaped flowers grow in spikes at the ends of young shoots.
Growing EDIT
Fast growing, frost resistant.

Propagated easily and quickly from either seed or cuttings. Seeds should be sown in a good seedling medium and kept moist. Seedlings can often be found underneath parent plants and may be carefully removed and placed in nursery bags with a suitable medium.
Distribution EDIT
Leucosidea sericea occurs in the Eastern Cape, Lesotho, western KwaZulu-Natal, the eastern Free State, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo provinces, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

This tree is usually found growing in dense thickets at altitudes above 1000 metres. It can be found growing in open grassland, along river banks and on wooded, rocky ridges. It is usually found growing in damp conditions, on deep, sandy or clayey and often rocky soil.
History EDIT
The generic name (Leucosidea) is derived from the Greek words for "white or grey appearance", while the species name (sericea) is the Latin for "silky" in reference to the silky hairs on the leaves of the tree.
The wood makes good, durable fence posts in permanently wet soil even though it is soft.

Apparently in mountainous areas where the ouhout occurs near streams it is an indication that they are suitable for being stocked with trout.

The ouhout is a dense plant that can be used to provide a screen against noise, objectionable views and wind.

The ouhout is also suitable for use as a bonsai tree.

The use of the plant in the traditional medicinal practices of some of the indigenous people of the region has been known for over a hundred years. Amongst these, its use as a vermifuge and astringent medicine, as well as anti-inflammatory agent, amongst the Basuto and Zulu tribes has been recorded.
Zulu people use a paste made from the crushed leaves of Leucosidea sericea for treating ophthalmia (an eye ailment).

The tree is used by the local people as a charm to protect the inhabitants of homesteads.
Ecology EDIT
The flowers and young shoots of this plant are browsed by cattle and goats in spring. It forms dense thickets on overgrazed, eroded or otherwise disturbed areas and can, therefore, become a problem plant on farm lands. The ouhout produces nectar which is probably utilised by bees and other insects.
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  • Van Wyk, B. & van Wyk, P. 1997. FIELD GUIDE TO TREES OF SOUTHERN AFRICA. 1st edition, Cape Town: Struik Publishers.  


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