South Africa, Arbor Day

In South Africa, Arbor Day was first celebrated in 1983. The event captured the imagination of people who recognized the need for raising awareness of the value of trees in our society.

Trees play a vital role in the health and well-being of our communities as a source of building material, food, medicine, and simple scenic beauty. Collective enthusiasm inspired the government to extend the celebration of Arbor Day to National Arbor Week. So every year from 1 to 7 September schools, businesses and organizations are encouraged to participate in community “greening” events.

The Wild Plum is the common “tree of the year”. It is an attractive garden tree good for attracting birds and butterflies into the garden.  The tasty plum-like fruits are enjoyed by , monkeys amongst other animals, birds and people who often use them for making jams and jellies. With their sour taste, they also make a good rosé wine.

Wild Plum

Wild Plum

The bark is a popular traditional medicine. It is used to treat acne and eczema, and is usually applied in the form of facial saunas and skin washes. Powdered burnt bark is used to treat sprains and bone fractures. Bark is also used for dyeing, and it gives a mauve or pink color.

One of the rare trees of the year is the Bladdernut.  The berries are enclosed in inflated papery structures that give this tree its common name of Bladdernut. The berries attract fruit eating birds.

Just a couple of the different trees you can see if you visit South Africa. Come on a painting holiday and you can cheerfully sketch or paint the trees while sitting out in the bush plein air! Wonderful!

Sources: KZN Wildlife Rhino Club


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