Indigenous to South Africa, Searsia leptodictya occurs naturally in all the northern provinces of our country. Usually described as a large shrub or smallish tree, the Mountain Karee generally grows to a height of 3 to 4 m, but has been known to reach 9 m under ideal conditions.
This is an essential tree if you want to attract birds to your garden as they love the attractive, almost multi-coloured, clustered fruit that appear from March to June. Birds feed on the fruit and in addition, the tree provides ample hiding places to build their nests. Flowering takes place from December to April and the small, yellowish flowers are carried in sprays. Evergreen, the tree has a fairly fast growth rate.
The Mountain Karee is a small tree with a rounded crown, often multi-stemmed and low branching. It has a graceful feminine appearance with drooping branches and soft, fine leaves. This tree is extremely versatile and can be used for screening, windbreaks and to provide shade. It is also a very good pavement tree, as it does not have an intrusive root system. The foliage is an attractive bright green and the twisted dark brown trunk has a rough fissured bark. The Mountain Karee offers dappled shade which allows other plants to grow happily underneath it. This is an excellent replacement for the exotic Willow tree. Frost hardy once established, this tree also proves to be drought resistant and it is a good specimen to plant on the Highveld.
The hardy Mountain Karee grows well in a sunny position, but will tolerate light shade and will thrive with almost any soil conditions.