Branch out for Arbor Week | Western Cape Government


Branch out for Arbor Week

1 September 2015

National Arbor Week, which runs from 1-7 September, is a firm favorite in the Environmental calendar with South Africans coming together to participate in community greening activities and programmes to improve the health and beauty of our local environment.

Arbor Day aims to raise awareness of the value of trees in our society and to encourage all South Africans to plant indigenous trees as a symbolic gesture of sustainable environmental management. Trees play a vital as sources of building material, food, medicine, and simple scenic beauty, trees play a vital role in the health and well-being of our environment. Trees keep our air supply clean, reduce noise pollution, improve water quality, help prevent erosion, provide food and building materials, create shade, and help make our landscapes look beautiful.

Each year, a common and a rare tree are highlighted during Arbor Week. In 2015 the Common tree of the year is the ‘forest bushwillow’ or Combretum kraussii. This tree is medium-sized and originates from eastern South Africa, Swaziland and southern Mozambique. The tree's leaves turn bright red to purple in winter, dropping just before flowering, which starts around August and continues through to November.

The 2015 Rare tree of the year is commonly known as the Parsley tree or Wildepieterseliebos (Heteromorpha arborescens). This small to medium-sized, straggly shrub is suitable for a small maintenance-free garden. The bark is papery and smooth, peeling off horizontally and leaving ring-like scars. The leaves are light green to grey-green and may turn yellow and red before falling in autumn. When crushed they smell of parsley or parsnips, hence the common name.

So don’t leaf it till it’s too late, plant a tree during Arbor Month to show your support for these important, life bearing organisms. For more information regarding Arbor day, please go to: