A versatile, low maintenance tree, the Karee can adapt to a variety of planting scenarios making it an ideal tree in our harsh South African climate. Growing to a height of between 7 and 8 m, with a similar spread, the tree is evergreen providing shade in the hot summers.
This single stemmed, low branching tree has a dense, rounded canopy and an almost willowy appearance, creating a soft accent in the garden. The leaves are trifoliate with a narrow shape and are darker green of top with a paler shade of green underneath. The bark is coarsely textured and is dark grey to brown in colour.
Flowering takes place from June to September and the inconspicuous, small flowers are carried in much branched sprays. Small round fruit follows appear from September to January and is edible.
The Karee is extremely hardy, frost and drought resistant. It is a fairly fast grower and has a small, none invasive root system, making it an ideal specimen for a smaller garden. The density of the tree also allows it to be planted as an efficient barrier tree, screening out objectionable views and acting as protection against wind or noise. The tree can be planted on its own or grouped together to form a privacy screen.
Searsia lancea can be utilised as a street or amenity tree as it is able to withstand poor soil conditions with relative ease. It is also ideal as a pioneer tree as the protective canopy can shield frost sensitive and shade loving plants. The tree will attract bees and other insects with its sweet scented flowers, and the fruit is eaten by various birds. In addition, the leaves are browsed by game, serving as an important food source in times of drought.
The indigenous Karee is found through most of South Africa and is the epitome of a true African tree.