The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Karee tree

Afrikaans name: Karee

Karee tree

Karee tree

Photo © Steven Herbert

Rhus lancea / Searsia lancea

The Karee is at most a medium-sized tree that reaches a maximum height of 7 metres. It spreads widely and may measure 7 metres across. It is single-stemmed but it doesn't appear to be so as it branches out low down.

The Karee's leaves are made up of 3 leaflets. They are darker above than below. During late winter and early spring it gets small yellowish flowers. Fruit is produced in spring and early summer.

This tree occurs widely across South Africa but is absent from KwaZulu-Natal.

The Karee is popular amongst birds that enjoy the fruit. The leaves are eaten by browsers such as Kudu.

Leaves of the Karee

Above - Leaves of the Karee

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

What Tree is That? - Author: Hazel Stokes - Published: 1967 - Page: 35

Wild About Johannesburg - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 1995 - Page: 94

Gardening with Birds - Author: Tom Spence - Published: 1988 - Page: 78

Indigenous Garden Plants of Southern Africa - Author: Glenice Ebedes - Published: 2017 - Page: 48

Pocket Guide - Trees of Southern Africa - Author: Piet van Wyk - Published: 2013 - Page: 81

Sappi Tree Spotting: Highveld and the Drakensburg - Author: Val Thomas and Rina Grant - Published: 1998 - Page: 232

Sasol First Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 1999 - Page: 47

The Sandton Field Guide - Author: Sandton Nature Conservation Society - Published: 1982 - Page: 199

Trees of Southern Africa - 3rd edition - Author: Keith Coates Palgrave - Published: 2002 - Page: 573

Garden Birds in South Africa - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2017 - Page: 171

A Field Guide to the Trees of Southern Africa - Author: E. Palmer - Published: 1983 - Page: 205

Everyones Guide to Trees of South Africa - Author: Keith, Paul and Meg Coates Palgrave - Published: 1989 - Page: 59


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