Tree Fuchsia, umBinza or Notsung
This small evergreen tree, known as the Halleria Lucida, or Tree Fuchsia, grows to 5 – 6 metres in height by 4 – 5 metres in width, depending on how many trunks it has. A tree purchased from a nursery tends to be smaller in stature than one that is sown by a bird in the garden.
Trees that spring up from a seed planted by a bird can grow taller than a purchased specimen, and, in a forest setting, mature trees will most definitely exceed their typical height.
This pretty tree flowers from April through to August with orange-red tubular flowers in clusters right up against the trunks. There is a soft yellow variety too which is an absolute show-stopper!
The flowers are followed by small, round, green fruits so you can expect your tree to be a constant hive of activity with insects, nectar-drinking and insectivorous birds – and the vervet monkey if you live in Kwazulu-Natal. Birds that you can expect to see are the sunbirds, white-eyes, green pigeons, turaco, robinchats and even crowned hornbills.
Grow this tree out in the garden, either singly or in a grove with place to sit underneath and observe all the activity above. You could also plant one close to a patio for the same reason, however it does regularly shed single leaves throughout the year which provides a wonderful mulch at the base of the tree but will block gutters and blow into swimming pools.
Halleria Lucida is not a fussy tree and often flowers in its second year. However, as it grows on forest margins, it does require well composted soil in a garden setting with a constant layer of leaf litter at its base. Fortunately, it provides its own leaf litter which should be left in place.