For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

White Karee (Searsia pendulina)

Family Anacardiaceae
This tree's botanical name has been changed to Searsia pendulina from Rhus Viminalis
Searsia pendulina is a perfect tree for the suburban garden, it is quick and easy to grow, tolerates wind and drought, is evergreen with a graceful habit and a neat crown, it won't get too big and it's not untidy. Tiny green flowers are produced in delicately branched, many-flowered panicles in spring-summer. They are inconspicuous, but attract bees and other insects. The flowers are followed by small rounded 3 mm diameter berries, green turning reddish and drying to black, usually ripening in the autumn.

Uses: The pliant slender stems of Searsia pendulina were used to build fish traps, baskets, and whips, and the stronger stems for the framework of matjieshuise (mat houses) and strong, flexible bows. The wood has a reputation for toughness and durability and has been used for fencing poles, kerries and handles, brake blocks and for general waggon repair work, although the pieces cut are seldom long enough for planks. The fruits of all the Searsia species are edible, rich in carbohydrate, and have formed an important part of the diet of many people, particularly those in the arid areas of southern Africa . They are eaten raw, soaked in milk, mixed with curdled milk or cooked as a kind of porridge. The fruits used to be an important ingredient of mead, in fact the name karee is thought to be derived from the original Khoi word for mead. They have also been used to brew a kind of beer. The berries are mixed with Acacia karoo gum to make a sticky sweet that tastes a bit like dates. The bark of quite a few species is used in tanning - that of S. pendulina gives a reddish-brown colour. An infusion of leaves in milk and given as an enema to children suffering from stomach upsets.