The evergreen, indigenous Searsia pendulina, better known as the White Karee, is a perfect tree for an urban garden. The tree has a neat crown of gracefully, dropping branches with a willowy appearance. Growing to a height of 4 – 9 m, this medium sized tree is easy to cultivate and can tolerate adverse growing conditions.
The bark of the White karee is pale grey and smooth, becoming flaky as the tree ages. The leaves are narrow and lance-shaped with a soft texture and a fresh, green colour. Inconspicuous green flowers are produced during spring to summer and attract bees and other insects to the tree. From December to May, small green berries form, turning red when ripe and drying to black in autumn. The fruit is edible and will entice birds to the garden.
Quick and easy to grow, Searsia pendulina has a non-invasive root system and it can endure wind and drought conditions. The tree is naturally found in semi-desert areas stretching from Namibia to the Free State and Orange River regions to the Northern Cape. It is also capable of withstanding cold conditions with moderate frost and as such has become a popular ornamental tree in many South African gardens. Attractive and low maintenance, the White Karee is often used as a street tree, screening plant or shade tree. The tree is also a ‘good’ bird tree as it provides shelter and food. In addition the White Karee can be used as a pioneer tree to allow slower-growing trees protection while growing.