Frequently asked questions originate through this website and through our Facebook page


Question: Why are trees important?

Answer: There are many reasons for this especially in that they take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen. See Importance of Trees.


Question: I have seen many abnormal growths, lumps and bumps on trees and leaves, what are they?

Answer: These are called galls and come in a variety of shapes and sizes – see new page on Galls.   A gallery on galls is being put together right now which will show you the various abnormal growths and which trees have them. Have a look at some photos showing galls in the Gall Gallery page


Question: I can’t identify a Munondo from a Msasa.  Are there any obvious differences?

Answer: Actually there are many differences but three main ones – see Munondo or Musasa.


Question: Which Albizias can be seen in Harare?

Answer: Quite a few are grown in Harare – see Albizias of Harare


Question: In some areas I have seen utter devastation with many trees having been cut down, can the woodland recover or how can it be reforested?

Answer: If the woodland is left alone, in time it will recover. However, the process can be speeded up if Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) is practised. Have a look at FMNR for a slide show presentation explaining the process.

If you would like to have the animated version presented to you, Meg Coates Palgrave can do it provided  she has the time and there is a minimum group of six. A fee is applicable. She can be contacted on: Meg Coates Palgrave (


Questions: Where do I purchase a particular indigenous tree?

How quickly will a particular tree will grow?

Which tree is best for a small / big garden?

Answer to all the above:  The Tree Society of Zimbabwe does not claim to have any expertise in any of these areas (see About Us),  we refer you to Tree Nurseries where we think there is help/ advice offered.


Question: Can you recommend a tree that is evergreen, fast growing, drought resistant, hardy to frost, has sweet smelling flowers and berries that attract birds?

Answer: There must be many – here is a small tree for small gardens: Halleria lucida


Question: Where do you get help for an established tree which looks “sick” or is overgrown or is not doing so well or whatever.

Answer:  The Tree Society of Zimbabwe does not claim to have any expertise in this,  we refer you to Tree Surgeons. If you want help with a tree, get hold of Maison Musindasora ( Mobile: 0774 150 530 ) or Tendai Mahomva (Mobile 0773 303 313) who were both trained as Tree Surgeons under the late Malcolm Leppard.


Question:  I have seen a tree which I don’t recognise and would like to identify it, what should I do?

Answer: Take close up photos of whatever there is on the tree: bark, leaves, flowers or fruit. Post these photos to the Tree Society of Zimbabwe Facebook and someone may identify it.  However, if it is a rare plant then you need to press samples of whatever is available for identification later on by the Herbarium or someone knowledgeable.  See page on: Collecting Plant Specimens


Question:  Do all African trees have uses and medicinal properties?

Answer: It would appear that most of them do have their uses and are also used for all sorts of ailments. The Tree Society of Zimbabwe does not recommend you try any of them and will not be responsible for the outcome. Many tree books do include uses and medicinal uses in the write-ups. See page on: Herbal Remedies


Question:  Are insects beneficial to trees?

Answer:  Yes and no.  Beneficial insects pollinate or predate on insects that could be harmful to trees. On the other hand there are insects that eat parts of the trees or bore into them etc. Some insects kill trees!  See page on: Weevils


Question: What are lichens?

Answer:  Despite their plant-like form, lichens are not plants. They are a symbiotic combination of a fungus with an algae and/or cyanobacteria.  See page on: Lichens


Question: Why do some leaves have very long drip tips and others have short or no drip tip at all?

Answer:  There appears to be more than one answer to this question – see Drip tips page.


Question: Do trees have defenses against being eaten?

Answer: They certainly do.  They have mechanical defenses, see Thorns & other Prickly Things and they also have chemical defenses, see Don’t Eat Me


Question: I  sometimes see what looks like plants growing on trees, what are they?

Answer: There are basically two types of plants that grow on trees. There are Epiphytes that grow on trees but take no nourishment from them at all and then there are the parasitic plants that take all their nourishment from the trees and sometimes kill their hosts – See page on Parasitic Plants 


Question: I have come across the term subspecies, what is that?

Answer: There is a whole page devoted to subspecies and varieties which includes all those to be found in Zimbabwe. The page also includes definitions from Kew. See Subspecies and varieties


Question: Is the Tree Society involved with Bonsai?

Answer: The Tree Society is not involved at all in these miniature trees, however some of our members do have an interest. There is an Australian Blog devoted to bonsai for beginners, check it out.