Euclea crispa is a neat upright tree with a dense round canopy of blue green leaves. Small to medium in size, the tree normally grows to a height of between 2 and 6 m. Interestingly, it is a member or the Ebony family that has 35 species growing in South Africa. Distributed throughout South Africa, the Blue guarrie thrives in a varied habitat – from grassland to bushveld, rocky hillsides and even along the south coast of the Western Cape.
Evergreen, the tree is well known for the beautiful blue-green or olive-green foliage. The leaf shape and colour are variable and can make the tree difficult to identify. The silvery to rusty brown bark is often covered with lichen and brakes into uneven block shapes on more mature specimens. Tiny, yellow- green, bell shaped flowers appear from December to May and have a sweet scent that attracts butterflies and insects alike. Small, edible black berries follow that entice birds and small mammals that feed off them.
The Blue guarrie is frost hardy, wind and frost resistant, making it ideal as a screening plant or informal hedge in a compact garden. This is a lovely, small specimen tree that looks most attractive planted in a rockery.