NEWSLETTERS OF THE TREE SOCIETY OF RHODESIA FOR 1970
The following is a summary of the news, events and happenings of the Tree Society of Rhodesia from the records we have available for 1970
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter January 1970
January 18th: Outing to Hillcrest Melfort. Our hosts are Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Rudd and have very kindly offered us tea at 1000 hours, before looking at trees.
February 15th: Somerby Cave Monument at “Boulders”, 18 miles, Bulawayo Road. There are some fine bushman paintings and interesting trees.
February 23rd: Annual General Meeting, 2000 hours at the Queen Victoria Museum Auditorium. It will be followed by a lecture to be announced later.
Please send in any Resolutions (duly seconded) to reach me by 26th January so that they may be circulated by the next newsletter. 14 days notice of any matter has to be given to all members.
We would also appreciate written comment on our Newsletters, the Science News and our column in it, and the past year’s outings and lectures. For some time the general trend has been towards the ecology of the veld and the need to preserve our flora. There is a dire need to awaken public opinion on these matters, hence our interest in schemes such as the Makabusi and the work in other centers. The work of the Botanic Garden and of our very able ecologists and botanists there, at the University and in the Department of Research and Specialist Services should be better known. Caustic comment on the deplorable condition of Salisbury’s street trees achieved nothing. We can scarcely complain while members take so little interest in the Society’s arboretum at McIlwaine. Your comments on the aims, work and entertainments of the Society are important.
Not only for far too long have I been Chairman and then President but arthritis prevents me continuing in office. This gives you the opportunity to revise the policy of the Society. So I hope there will be a good attendance at the AGM and much expression of studied opinions.
The Film Show was much enjoyed by, considering the weather, a good audience. There were wonderful pictures of the marvelous scenery and untouched wild of the Chimanimanis and it was heartening to learn what a worthwhile scientific contribution is made by the lads of these Schools Expeditions. Incidentally the date was chosen to suit school pupils but the proportion present was small.
Mr. Bollman’s lecture on dwarfing trees followed after a tea interval. He displayed and lectured on the production of dwarf trees. By his method a desired shape and size could be obtained in 3 to 4 years, in contrast to the lengthy process of the Japanese Bonsai, and then maintained by care and root pruning. There are two very different reasons for a desire to possess a dwarf tree I am ignoring the Japanese treasured heirloom. One is by the man who can afford everything to display a decorative curiosity, the other is the inborn desire of Man to own and admire a piece of Nature. In the latter case the trees find a treasured place in small homes flats and even in the concrete jungle. I think Professor Wild described golf as a means of escape for those deprived of a contact with Nature.
The great many questions asked at the end of the lecture showed the interest aroused by this most entertaining lecture. The two very different subjects of the evening but both based on that vital contact with Nature. The one the Wilderness which must be preserved and the other a sanity preserving hobby for the “cooped-up”. Members may know of tree species which produce naturally dwarfed specimens in rock crevices and Mr. Bollman would value information on them. Table sized indigenous trees must help arouse interest in our veld and National Parks.
FIELD BOOK ON TREES. It seems at long last that it will be possible to produce such a book. Printers and publishers are keen to produce it, at a popular price The size would be about 9” x 5” with 200 pages, about one quarter of which would be taken up with line drawings. In this space about 150 of the commoner trees could be described fairly fully but briefly and reference made to another 50 which are close to one or other of those described.
The book would be designed for use in the field by amateurs, members, school children, tourists, farmers and scientists of other disciplines. It could also serve as an introduction to further studies. We would like comments and suggestions as we want to be sure that the book fills the need of the greatest number of people. An estimate of the demand and the price and the public would be willing to pay is important in making a decision on the size and quality of the paper and cover and the number of illustrations etc.
It is felt that the Botanical Order rather than an alphabetical one should be used as then the related species are next to one another. Descriptions which help identification of families and genera should head these. Metric measurements should be used as schools have now switched to them, and either there should be a conversion table inside the cover or the English measurements should follow in brackets. The former would save space.
Where unequivocal the African and common names would follow the scientific one. It would seem in many cases it will not be possible to give more than the scientific name, but we hope members will assist in collecting as many as possible of the other names. It is also hoped that people will volunteer to write up a family or genus.
In order to permit quick reference in the field the descriptions will be rather terse, but not abbreviated, and will follow a set order. This may make dull reading but this is not a literary work. Briefly the order of description would be:Size, shape and colour of the tree, where present, abundance and favoured habitat, any features which permit certain identification, and then in each case such items as apply as to conformation, placement, size, shape, structure, surface, colour and any other readily seen features of bark, bole, branches, leaves, thorns, flowers, fruit.
However these features which had been described under the heading of family or genus would be omitted in the description of the species. In order to assist those who would like to help we are prepared to produce roneoed sheets listing all the possible details. One would be filled in for each species. There could be a metric scale down one side of the sheet.
In a number of cases identification can be facilitated by pages of comparative drawings to scale, e.g. Acacia pods, the outline and veins of fig leaves or the flower which has a typical readily seen family feature such as the Mallows and the Bignonias.
Without doubt some of the ideas will be changed after comment has been studied. I would like to emphasize the cooperative nature of this venture. If this is achieved and it must be so, the royalties would accrue to the Society.
For the amateur perhaps one of the most important items in a description is how the tree looks from a distance, trees which superficially look the same and the differences which enable separation. It may be a question of colour, texture, or the way the branches grow, whether upright, bending stiff or flexible; the position of the fruit or flowers; in fact a host of features which we cannot crib from scientific descriptions. One of the most important contributions would be “How I recognize a ….. tree from a distance”. The time of leaf emergence and fall flowering and fruiting are also important.
Douglas Aylen, President.
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter February 1970
In spite of our efforts to keep members informed some of them miss events which they would have liked to attend. In order to help advance noting the Committee has decided to give the programme for three months ahead both in these newsletters and in Science News.
February 15th 1000 hours: Somerby Cave National Monument. Interesting trees and bushman paintings. And then on to Atlantica. Mr. and Mrs. Boulton have invited us to 12.30 the same day. They have kindly offered to give us tea, bring your own sandwiches and a tour of Atlantic in the afternoon. Wet or fine there is always something new and interesting there.
February 16th 1945 hours. Arts Lecture Theatre, University. “Can the Botanist save the Environment”. Professor Hiram Wild. One can be sure that this will be a dynamic and interesting lecture.
February 23rd 2000 hours. AGM and film Jungle Cat. Perhaps the best ever wild life film, in this case on jaguars of the Amazon.
Resolutions for AGM. None have been received from Members, but the Committee gives notice that it will propose two
- The Arboretum should be the Project of the Year. Proposed by Mrs. McBean and seconded by the Committee
- Consideration should be given to the raising of additional income, in view of expenses at the Arboretum and at Murahwa’s Hill. Proposed by the President and seconded by the Committee.
These arise from (a) verbally expressed opinions that we are not devoting enough attention to trees as trees, (b) the present fall off of interest in the Arboretum and the need to replace the water storage and drive tanks and (c) the part cost we have agreed to bear of a presentation to Mr. Chase and the cost of a memento of our visit to Murahwa’s Hill.
Mrs. McBean and Mr. Reid do not wish to stand for election and the Vice President, Mr. Trevor Gordon, and myself are unable to continue in office. Further the present committee considers that there should be better presentation of younger members who take part in our activities. For once could we have Proposals, seconded, with consent in advance, certainly not later than the beginning of the meeting.
March 21st and 22nd – Umtali. Final details will be posted shortly. Meanwhile you are advised to book your hotel accommodation as soon as possible. On the 21st at 2000 hours at Umtali Museum the well known naturalist, Mr. Darrell Plowes, will give a slide lecture on “Flowering Trees and Shrubs”. However, the main purpose of the visit is to honour Mr.Norman Centlivres Chase. We meet at the Lower Gate Murahwa’s Hill at 0900 when tea will be served, followed immediately by a presentation to Mr. Chase, and then a conducted tour, in small parties of Murahwa’s Hill.
Report on outing to Hillcrest: This was notable for the “family re-union” spirit, in no small way due to the homely welcome and good tea provided by our hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Rudd. There were several friends not seen for some time and some new faces and, I believe, all agreed that there was no better way of spending a day. In return, we labeled about 40 species of trees.
Guests: Members are encouraged to bring guests to all our functions, but we would appreciate being given their names in advance as we would like to greet them. For events where refreshments are provided or for halls with limited seating, we would like to know numbers coming a few days in advance.
PRESIDENT’S REPORT FOR 1969
For the last two years the major interest has been the ecology of the veld, both at Outings and in writings. The reason being that the uncommon trees are the first to decline when the veld is degraded. The Commission of Enquiry into National Parks showed great interest in our observations and we wait with some impatience for its report.
The Makabusi has not been forgotten by the Committee but it may have been by the Salisbury City Council. I hope to be able to comment of this matter at the AGM as recently I wrote a “final” letter to that body.
Attendance at Functions has been a matter of some concern to the Committee. The activities have covered a wide range and been more numerous than ever before. For the first quarter of 1970 the frequency of events arranged by the outgoing Committee greatly exceeds any previous period. Together Newsletters and Notes cover the events and most topics of immediate interest. Additional material has been provided, in particular, by Mr Gordon and I am pleased to report that he intends to continue with this useful work. The outgoing Committee can think of no solution other than to encourage more of the younger set by having a younger Committee.
Services provided can, I submit, be claimed to be in excess of those provided by any other Society. This is only possible with a Committee which works like a team and I wish to record my appreciation and I have no doubt that this will be endorsed by the meeting. Particular thanks are due to our efficient Treasurer, Mrs. Tunney, who has voluntarily carried out additional duties.
The Forum, really a mini symposium, was successful enough to put the Society of the Map as regards its scientific interests and to make it really worthwhile to hold another, of which the provisional title suggested was “Fodder and Browse Trees”
Field Handbook of Trees. This project is to some extent an outcome of the Field Card prepared by Mr. Gordon. It will contain as full as possible information in layman’s language on some 200 of the commoner trees. A start has been made but it may take two years before it is on sale, at, we hope, a popular price.
Young Scientists: The Committee decided to offer free membership to a Young Scientist who had made recently or who is making a contribution to any aspect of the study of trees. For an outstanding exhibit a free Family Membership was awarded and accepted but little interest was shown.
Douglas Aylen, President
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter March 1970
REMINDER: Umtali visit. Will those who are going but who have not advised us please do so, stating whether they can offer or would like a lift. The immediate response from Salisbury area is 32 members and 8 from other sources.
Before and during the AGM approximately $70 was received or promised towards a plaque which will record our visit to honour Mr. Norman Chase and the bench which will be placed at his favourite view. Further donations would be welcome as it is desired to make a worthy tribute to this grand old man, world renowned as a Botanist, but almost ignored in Rhodesia as yet.
Very good attendance at the AGM.
TREE SOCIETY ARBORETUM: The report of the Natural Resources Commission, 1939, contained two photographs of the Hunyani Poort showing a hillside covered in short scrub, a result of clear felling for firewood. For the last 12 years the Society has endeavoured, with success, to convert the scrub into an Arboretum.
The dam which creates Lake McIlwaine was built across the Hunyani Poort during the winter of 1952. The land around the Lake had been reserved and shortly afterwards was declared a National Park. The scrub on the hillside to the south west of the dam wall had become denser due to repeated uncontrolled fires and stuck out like a sore thumb. Suggestions were made to the Society that it should beautify the steep slope above and to the West of the Intake Tower by planting colourful trees and climbing shrubs. This area of the hill side consists of rock fractured into large angular blocks and even in apparently favourable hollows plantings failed, though it does support a thin cover of scrawny trees and the shrub Euphorbia matabelensis.
Meanwhile it was decided to thin the densest area of scrub land which adjoins the rocky slope and it is steep but not precipitous and on the average has two inches of mould covering much shattered banded ironstone, ferruginous quartzite. Thinning still proceeds and much remains to be done.
It was now possible to negotiate with National Parks. In brief the land is open to the public, Parks Regulations apply as to damage, fires, litter and conduct. It is being developed co-operatively by Parks and the Society and there is an understanding that should this arrangement be terminated the Society will be compensated for capital expenditure. Plans for development and capital expenditure must receive prior approval of Parks.
In 1959 contour paths and zig-zag paths of ascent were made on an area of about 10 acres with an extension to the summit of Sentinel Hill. On the contour two paths were taken some 300 yards westwards. To encourage enthusiasm planting days were held when members were asked to bring and plant trees. Few of these trees survived the transplant and/or the hole was often too small, or the species unsuited to the conditions. The paths being the only open ground were much favoured. Unwanted exotics were planted in holes reserved for an indigenous specimen which had been placed beside it. Unfortunately the failure of those planting days resulted in a loss of enthusiasm.
It was realized that when the planting rains finished a water supply would be needed. This was installed quite promptly due to much hard work by a very few members. It consists of a hydraulic ram delivering water to a tank sited above the cleared area, with reticulated pipes taking water to taps at about intervals of 200 feet. Thanks to the generosity of the suppliers the cost to the Society was only $700. A public convenience was erected and there is a landing jetty nearby.
Labour supplied by Parks watered the transplants during the dry season and slashed the grass in summer, the occasional gang stumped out large tree roots made up the road and paths, while members undertook the pruning. A hut consisting of a lock up room to house tools and chairs with beside it a shelter open on the side facing the Lake was built half way up the slope.
The Arboretum was officially opened by the Society’s President, Sir Humphrey Gibbs on 10th September 1960 when he unveiled a plaque set in the stone bench which is on the same contour as the hut.
As the grass was tamed and the transplants established it was possible to reduce the labour force to one. The heavier work of stumping, digging holes and road repair being undertaken by gangs from local farmer members and National Parks. Members of the committee in turn visited once a fortnight to do the pruning and planting of trees which were now raised in buckets for two to three years before planting out. Even so, some of the more interesting specimens were stolen and others were damaged but those which survived made good growth.
Examination showed that in every case of poor growth or death unnecessary factors were present. In the case of transplants these have been described, in the case of regrowth saplings there were three causes; insufficient space, woolly aphis and past fire damage, and they were overcome by removing diseased trees and thinning.
Where they had space transplants such as the Erythrina lysistemon and Natal Mahogany, Khaya nyasica and various saplings had reached a height of 20 feet in the six years. The annual thinning produced a large amount of firewood. There was also a thick cover now of excellent pasture grass as was proved by some bullocks which went wild and for some months grazed the hill. Several attempts at rounding up failed and they were eventually shot, proving to be in staff fed condition.
In my address to the AGM I reported on the difficulties of the last few years and the loss of interest when strict petrol rationing was introduced. One big difficulty is that two tobacco farmers who regularly used to bring labour gangs can no longer do this.
Pruning, thinning and removal of scrub has been neglected, and some filling in where specimens have died or where exotics should be removed is also necessary. There is also a need to develop further portions of the hillside. Parks will shortly develop the land between the Arboretum and the entrance gate to the Game Park. Members of the Committee will always coordinate help from members. The loan of garden boys would be especially helpful.
Few people, including some members, know of the Arboretum and there must be publicity for this area of beauty which the Society, in co-operation with National Parks, has created for the benefit of the public.
A sign board will shortly be erected by the Society at the Arboretum car park.
Other projects for continuation in 1970. These are numerous and include the Makabusi, last year’s Project, protected tree areas and proposed hand book on trees. Declining enthusiasm for these projects is unnecessary as the Society is presently in good virile state. In the absence of active assistance, suggestions, criticisms or queries will be welcome especially from our more outlying members.
Douglas Aylen, President
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter April 1970
OUTING TO UMTALI.
This was very successful. The purpose of the outing was twofold. Firstly, our Society wished to honour and bring recognition to an eminent amateur botanist, Mr. Norman Centlivres Chase. The Umtali Branch of the National Trust and the Umtali Horticultural Society immediately co-operated. Secondly, we wished to visit the Murahwa’s Hill area which Mr. Chase helped to protect and develop.
Mr. Chase: First the man. Mr. Chase, a slight unassuming man, now in his eighties, has, since his retirement from banking, devoted most of his time to the botany of the Eastern Districts. As a result 8,500 botanical specimens collected by him are now in the herbaria of the world. Several new species have been named in his honour. Mr. Chase walks 1.5 miles to Murahwa’s Hill nearly every morning, and once a week walks 3 miles to a nearby farm to continue his botanizing.
Thus our most important object in Umtali was to bring public acclaim to this man who has done so much for his country. Sir Athol Evans, Chairman of the National Trust, gave the opening speech to the gathering of about 100.
Murahwa’s Hill: The hill is a treasure house of rare and uncommon trees and shrubs. It was formerly known as Meikles Jungle after Mr. Jack Meikle who explored it on and off for 40 years from the turn of the century. Mr. G. McGregor, former Director of Forestry, tried to have the area protected, following a damaging fire in 1947. This was to no avail until in 1963 a Mr. E. Gledhill and others formed a Manicaland Branch of the National Trust specifically to preserve Murahwa’s Hill. Since then, discreet paths have been cleared, signposts erected and the “jungle” has been slightly tamed. In all this work, Mr. Chase has played a major part.
Archaeological excavations by an Umtali resident, Mr. F. Bernard and others since the Hill was declared a reserve have revealed some of the early history of the area.
Botanical lists of the flora have been compiled by Mr. Chase and by the Society which add up to an unusual association. Mr. Tom Muller of the Government Herbarium is of the opinion that such associations would be far more widespread in moderately high rainfall areas, were it not for the effects of fire which culls all but the most resistant species.
Murahwa’s Hill is a treasure house of rare and uncommon trees. On our visits to relict forests e.g. Ditchwe and Ceres, we have seen specimens of a few of them and wondered how they could be preserved. It is comforting to know that here they are safe but that is not to say that attempts should not be made to protect the isolated specimens as each helps to build the story of past climate and topography so necessary to the proper manipulation of our veld and farmland. There is scope in plant distribution for a vast study, academic maybe, but with many practical applications. Let us hope that the relicts can be preserved for at least a sufficient time for the investigation to be completed, and the Hill for all time.
Along the mountains of the Eastern Border some plants are still in the stage of comparatively rapid evolution. In fact more than a hundred have evolved there and thus are found nowhere else. Others are only found, or are closely related to plants, on the other mountains of eastern Africa. These plants stand literally in splendid isolation and so a condensed account of the causes may not be out of place.
For more than a hundred million years all of southern Africa and the adjacent portions of the present southern continents which then joined to form one vast continent, Arabia, India, Australia and South America were a howling desert of sand and volcanoes. Then ice miles thick covered them, and when at last it melted it created large shallow lakes, around which there was an upsurge in vegetation, the coal forming swamp forest. A pluvial period followed as the families and many genera as we know them evolved and spread. The present continents then commenced to separate from the land mass. The African Plateau had risen to its present level when Man came on the scene.
Subsequent geological erosion on a tremendous scale reduced the eastern chain of mountains to isolated peaks. River valleys and arid areas formed further barriers to plant migration. While Geology provides the history of the world up to and during the coal age, from then on Botany and Geomorphology are the main sources of information.
The Flora of the Eastern Border presents a great field for research into plant evolution, perhaps scope for a new “Darwin”. Chimanimani and Inyangani might become as big a scientific attraction as the Galapagos Islands. They could never compare as a scenic attraction, particularly as now guano “mining” a convict settlement and depredation and degradation of plant and animal life have wrought catastrophic changes.
It is hoped that this account gives some idea of the value of Mr. Chase’s work as a plant collector. The information he has collected, 8,500 pressed specimens with a short descriptive text, is preserved in important Herbaria. Murahwa’s Hill which he has done much to protect and develop is a valuable “shop window” and lecture hall. The beauty and scientific value of our Eastern Border must be made more widely known and here lies the merit of the colour photographer such as Darrell Plowes.
We made a worthy attempt to obtain recognition of Norman Chase and Murahwa’s Hill. The results may not have been as wide as we had hoped for so we must continue to keep these names before the public. You will have an opportunity of seeing Darrell Plowes’ slides.
Chris Lightfoot, President
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter May 1970
May Outing. This is to Arden Farm by kind invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Derrick Belinsky. Part of the farm is completely undisturbed veld on granite soils. This is a morning only outing and tea will be provided.
Your Committee will in future inset notification of any function in the Herald on the previous day. Thus if you loose both your newsletter and Rhodesia Science News, simply consult Club Notices” on the Saturday prior to our normal outing on the third Sunday of each month. Similar use will be made of the “What’s on Today” item.
When the Society holds outings to places some distance from Salisbury, as for instance the June outing to Wedza, which will involve more than 150 miles, it is obvious that members should combine transport. It has been suggested that since this can give rise to embarrassment over the sharing of expenses, the Society should adopt a convention to apply in such cases. One arrangement used by other Societies, is that each “foreign” passenger pays 1c per mile. In absence of other agreements, members may care to adopt this convention.
Arboretum Progress: The Committee met at the Arboretum in April to discuss what was needed there. It was decided that a priority requirement was a long term development programme to ensure continuity from year to year. The Committee unanimously agreed that plantings be confined entirely to trees indigenous to Rhodesia. Future thinning of woodland will aim at a more natural look. A new storage tank has been bought and the small tank has been fibre glassed inside. A large and attractive sign has been erected, the central motif of which is the Society’s baobab tree. The sign warns the public that damaging or removing vegetation is an offence punishable under the National Parks act.
The view from our hut has been improved by the removal of a few unnecessary trees.
Mrs. McBean has undertaken to act as a marshalling yard for seeds and seedlings destined for the arboretum. We have a number of large pots or preliminary establishment and all contributions will be welcome.
Binga Swamp Forest to be Protected: Your President has been successful in getting the Chairman of the NRB to agree that the forest near Arcturus should be protected under the Natural Resources Act. This will be gazetted shortly and it should be in effect by the time the Society visits the Forest in August.
Proposed Field book on Trees: As mentioned in the March number of Science News, we have been asked to provide material for a field book on trees for use by farmers, school children, scouts and other interested in the less scientific aspects of our flora.
The book would be published in the same way as the Bundu Book Series. If it was a Society effort, the Society would benefit from royalties. However, there are rumours that other tree books are in the course of preparation and as the Society does not wish to conflict with these, any information on such proposed books would therefore be appreciated.
Pollution, An Increasing Awareness: Being as we are, a Society that strives for better understanding and enjoyment of our natural environment, we can be pleased at the fact that hardly a day now passes without mention of the problems of pollution in newspapers and magazines.
Some of the aspects of pollution of Salisbury’s water supply were mentioned in the February issue of Science News and it was indicated that there are, and, of course, always have been, methods of alleviating the problem. Shortly afterwards the City Council announced measures aimed at making Lake Mac a cleaner place, methods which Bulawayo has successfully used for years. Late though the move is, it is must welcome as a step in the right direction.
Makabusi: Also encouraging are the following: a) Churchill School has students studying the Makabusi Woodland; b) Highfield School are studying the total ecology of a stretch of the Makabusi river; c) The Chairman of the Wild life Society again calls for the establishment by the City Council of a “mini farm” somewhere along the Makabusi for basic child education; d) The Zoological Society has begun work on its proposed zoo at Graniteside.
The Tree Society is in agreement with all these things and will help where possible.
Chris Lightfoot, President
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter June 1970
JUNE OUTING: On Sunday 21st June we are going to Wedza Mountain and obviously an early start must be made as the distance from Salisbury is some 85 miles. Tea will be served at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Waugh in Wedza Camp at 0930. This requires leaving Salisbury before 0700 hours.
During tea we hope that the District Commissioner will say a few words on the mountain, after which we will take as few cars as possible for the 13 miles to the mountain. There are a number of riverine forest patches, most of which require a walk. The trees include some fairly rare forest species.
After a late lunch, some may like to inspect a nearby area of vegetation which is strongly influenced by a high concentration of nickel in the soil.
Resignation of Trevor Gordon from Committee: We announce with regret the resignation this month of Mr. Trevor Gordon from our committee, on which he has been a very active member and Vice President for some years. Mr. Gordon has numerous other responsibilities of a similar nature and he can no longer find the time for the 80 mile round trip which he undertook in the past to attend our meetings.
I am sure every member of the Society will join in thanking him for his past energetic participation. Mr. Gordon will, however, still attend outings, as our Chief Meet Leader, whenever he can and has offered his continued support and help.
AGM of Association of Scientific Societies in Rhodesia: This, the 5th AGM of our mother Society, was held on 29th May. The President, Dr. Ian MacDonald reported a good and improving condition in the Association which now comprises 20 professional and amateur member societies with application being considered for a further three. Dr. MacDonald, and the Secretary/Treasurer Dr. Pappenfus, both of Kutsaga Tobacco Research Station, were both re-elected to office.
WEDZA MINE NICKEL ANOMALY
An area such as this, where vegetation differs markedly from surrounding associations is known as an anomaly. Nickel is thought to be the heavy metal most toxic to plant growth followed by copper. Moreover the effects of this toxicity are manifested in the vegetation in different ways on copper and nickel soils. Professor Wild of the University’s Botany Department has recorded a total of 436 species occurring on copper soils throughout Rhodesia and only 302 on nickel soils.
Numbers on each particular anomaly are, of course, far less. On the very strong one near the old Wedza Mine, for example, a total of only 17 species of grasses, herbs and trees has been found.
Thus a much reduced number of species can immediately indicate the presence of heavy metal in the soil. The species themselves give a further indication. On the Wedza anomaly, in an area surrounded by a common msasa/mufti woodland, the dominant tree is stunted Combretum molle.
Suspicions are further confirmed by the presence of the soft, woolly herb Dicoma macrocephala in numbers on the area, since a form or perhaps a sub species of this plant seems to be found only on nickel soils in Rhodesia. The plant has earned the name of “Nickel Flower”.
This and other plants have the ability to take up nickel which is of no use to them, and remain unaffected. The analysis of the leaves of such plants for heavy metals forms the basis for “Biogeochemical” prospecting. This method is presently being employed using vegetation growing on the windblown Kalahari sands to determine whether the underlying rocks contain economic minerals.
Incidentally, much of the mother rock which makes up Wedza mountain is serpentine, similar to that over large areas of the Great Dyke. This has intruded into metavolcanic rocks and sediments in the east of the mountain which are some of the oldest rocks in Rhodesia.
CUPRESSUS DUPREZIANA, THREATENED CONIFER OF THE SAHARA
Three species of cypress are indigenous to Africa, all in North Africa. They are C. sempervirens, C. altlantica and C. dupreziana. A variety of the former is the common Italian or Graveyard cypress, often used as a hedge plant in Rhodesia and often mistakenly called a fir tree.
The latter is represented by perhaps 200 mature trees on the Tassili Plateau in Algeria. This area is some 600 miles from the Mediterranean in the Central Sahara and receives an average rainfall of less than one inch each year.
The trees, which are mostly over 2,000 years old, grow in wadis, depressions, where more water is available to them. Most are badly mutilated by continuous habitation of the area by Man throughout their lifetime.
The Cypresses form part of the evidence for the recent existence of more humid conditions in the Sahara. Four other conifers represented in local deposits have all since disappeared from the Sahara. It is very likely that these also will disappear unless steps presently underway for the formation of a National Park succeed.
Chris Lightfoot, President
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter July 1970
JULY OUTING: The outing to the Arboretum is intended as a work party but don’t let that frighten you. It is strongly suggested that you bring a worker with you, as most of the chores to be done will be beyond the range of most members; chores such as cutting a zig-zag path to the hut, stumping and such like. Chores for members themselves are limited to labeling of trees and some pruning. Certainly there will be ample time to walk, look at the views and for the first timers, get to know the Arboretum.
WEDZA MOUNTAIN OUTING: To round off what was a very successful outing, let me say thank you for the enthusiasm shown by you, the members. Without this, much of the purpose of the Society is killed. Over 60 people were there and nearly half, not by any means the youngest, reached the top!
Many new trees were introduced to the Society; Few members will realize that until they return to the mountain again, perhaps next year, they almost certainly won’t see one particular shrub, Strophanthus speciosus again. We did not, however, see the very rare Cape Olive, Olea capensis, which is there. The more common olive, Olea africana, is found sometimes on Highveld termite mounds.
ALOE,CACTUS AND SUCCULENT SOCIETY: This sister Society is, I believe, to be congratulated on the strong and rapid progress it has made since it was founded in March 1969. The Society is undertaking the rescue of Aloes threatened by new road construction near Cashel and by the opening of irrigation land in the Lowveld. A similar scheme “Operation Wild Flower” in South Africa has to date rescued some 600,000 plants, mainly Aloes, from destruction. Would that trees could be similarly moved!!
OUTWARD BOUND NATURAL HISTORY EXCURSION: In addition to their normal courses for young and not so young boys and girls, the Outward Bound at Melsetter runs an Annual Natural History Excursion. A number of our members still speak nostalgically of past excursions they attended.
The 1970 Excursion from the School runs from 27th September to 8th October. The object is, of course, to enable anyone with a genuine interest in any branch of natural history to study the flora and fauna of the Chimanimani Mountains with, they say, a minimum of discomfit to anyone who is reasonably fit.
REPORT OF THE WILD LIFE COMMISSION: This report, released to the public in June, was undertaken in July last year by Dr. Petrides of Michigan U.S.A. the Chairman, and Dr. Pienaar of the Kruger National Park. Its object was to investigate and make recommendations on wild life policy in Rhodesia.
The Report recommends the complete re-organization of existing bodies dealing with wild life resources into one Ministry of Resource Conservation whose policies would be based on correct scientific and ecological principles. Into this Ministry would possibly be recruited the Natural Resources Board, the Forestry Commission and the National Museums. The Herbarium, Botanic Gardens and the education of amateur naturalists would fall under the Department of National Museums.
The report defined National Parks as “Areas of Natural Landscape and Scenery containing the vegetation and animal life indigenous to the region whose preservation is enshrined in perpetuity by statute for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of the public”.
Areas fulfilling these requirements are the Chimanimani Mountains, Rhodes Inyanga, including Mtarazi Falls, Wankie, Rhodes Matopos and Victoria Falls National Parks. All other areas presently known as National Parks would be more accurately re-designated.
A further four areas would be proclaimed National Parks, i.e Gone-re-Zhou, Chizirira, Zambezi, Mana Pools and others, and Mt. Selinda Forest. This total of 7.3 million acres would then encompass examples of all the main vegetation types, together with all rare and endangered mammal species.
In a detailed assessment of these nine areas it is interesting to note that the report considers none to have adequate educational exhibits or naturalist programmes, and only Chimanimani has sufficient visitor trails. It does, however, consider the status of rare floral species to be satisfactory overall.
Recommendations specific to National Parks include:
Victoria Falls: Emphasis on scenery, vegetation and only smaller animals. Strict limitation of development and abandonment of viewing tower scheme.
Zambezi Valley: Addition of an area of valuable alluvial soil vegetation
Gona-re-Zhou: Protection of rare Androstachys forests and the very rare shrub Chlorophora excelsa
Rhodes Matopos: Eradication of exotic plants such as sisal, prickly pear and syringa berry. Numbering, for later identification, of trees for education
Rhodes Inyanga: Incorporation of the valuable forests on the Eastern slopes of Inyangani and the van Niekerk Ruins, including the habitat of our single Juniper Tree, Juniperus procera. In this and other parks, a sound fire control plan is recommended, a recommendation which should not have been necessary, but which is very necessary.
Chimanimani: Extension southwards to include the remainder of this unique forest
Mount Selinda: Transfer from Forestry to National Parks. Halt of plans to cut survey lines.
Additional Botanic Reserves which are recommended are: Mt. Vumba, presently Vumba National Park; Mushandike, Southerly msasa/mnondo woodland; Sebakwe – Southern Dyke Flora; Raphia Palms – a section of the Raphia farinifera palms; Murahwa’s Hill, the present National Trust Area; Bunga Forest – recently proclaimed a National Park at Vumba; Mashito Forest – either Dichwe Swamp Forest, Mangula, or a similar one in Chiduka Tribal Trust Land
On this evidence, it behooves the Tree Society to strongly urge the Government to adopt at least the majority of the recommendations contained in the report. Rhodesia is yet a young country, and now is the time to enshrine such principles as will ensure the quality of life in our country in years to come.
Chris Lightfoot, President
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter August 1970
AUGUST OUTING – BINGA SWAMP FOREST, 16TH AUGUST 0930 HRS. Bring your own lunch and camping equipment, there is no lawn. The lunch and discussion is not compulsory, but is desirable, as the forest can be seen in a morning.
Binga – ecology: Something for those that are not coming as well as those that are and may discuss.
Binga means a cool, shady place with large trees. It also means “an enclosure or fort” which is the more likely name for the village on Kariba. There is a fort near our forest also, so the locals have good reasons to call the place Binga and we will keep the name.
The area is basically a large, open vlei but somehow the forested part seems more appropriately called a swamp. So it is a swamp forest. Two small areas away from the main forest are better described as riverine forest since erosion has cut a 16 feet deep channel. This erosion is a good place to start our study of the local ecology. In these forested areas, exposed roots show that since the trees grow there, 4 to 6 feet of further erosion has taken place. The trees are, however, growing up the higher banks. Going further upstream, the trees become younger and the banks have a raw look. At the head is a plain donga, still active. So we have traced the formation of a river. It seems obvious that the erosion was artificially triggered, probably by an old stock or wagon track. This view is supported by two facts. Firstly, there is a track at the head of the donga now. Secondly, the donga is not quite in the lowest part of the natural valley.
Possibly the soil type holds the answer. At Binga we have clay derived from greenstone, whereas many vleis are in sandveld derived from granite. Yet sandveld vleis should have, if anything, better drainage of the sandy topsoil and thus be more hospitable to trees. Waterberries grow very happily in wet sandveld.
To cut the reasoning short, and possibly begin the argument, I believe very many Rhodesian vleis are suitable for tree growth. In ecological parlance, the climax, or ultimate, vegetation would be forest. What then is preventing this?
The main culprit is fire. Perennial grasses with their habit of storing food in the roots for the following seasons growth are largely unaffected by having their top parts are removed by fire, or grazing. Forest trees on the other hand are obviously not adapted to having their trunk and branches removed at all and the few that may regrow after such treatment are set back about 9/10th of their life span.
Vleis have enough moisture to keep grass growing vigorously every year, in spite of heavy grazing or fires, and thus always have fuel for a hot fire. So no forest trees can survive. Woodland trees, msasa, mnondo and mfute, are very well adapted to fire, they have enormous root reserves, but of course, they like well drained soils, not vleis.
There must be some common trees that grow in wet soils and are resistant to fire you say. Well there are Acacia sieberiana, Parinari curatellifolia and Waterberry are, probably in that order, equipped with fire protective bark. However, even that cannot withstand repeated vlei fires. To confuse the issue further, even if they survive the fire they are likely to be killed by frost since this is most severe in low lying vleis. True forest trees of our Eastern Border are, of course, happy in frost.
What about plain water logging in vleis, and in particular, stagnant or airless conditions in wet soil? Well, in the vast majority of our vleis there is quite considerable lateral movement of water as evidenced by the fact that they are usually acid as a result of heavy leaching of salts. We have no natural lakes and very few truly stagnant swamps. The soil, though very moist is thus likely to be fairly well aerated. We know from forests in the Eastern Districts that many trees can live with their roots in non stagnant water.
There is a possibility that the wettest “eye” or sponge area of a vlei may be too wet or too airless for trees. However, when such an area is fenced and protected from fire for some years it will be seen that grasses disappear to be replaced entirely by sedges, ferns, some legumes and flowering herbs such as the Royal Dissotis or Red Hot Poker. Incidentally it then becomes a far more effective “sponge”. When such an area is covered by grasses, then, we can assume they have been befriended by fire.
What removed fire from Binga forest? The most effective means of reducing fire in veld is to remove the fuel, the grass. This we have done since the Pioneers arrived and caused a population explosion in the country’s cattle. Since that time, fires have been smaller and less fierce, though probably a lot more frequent. This is the reason for apparent thickening up of bush in some parts of the country.
Now Binga Forest is situated on part of Chisawasha Mission which was first surveyed in 1892. There is no reason to suppose that Father Hartman and the early Catholic Missionaries did not make full use of their available veld. There is evidence of early settlement very close to the forest, apart from the fort and the erosion, and the surrounding veld is in an overused condition.
This could explain why a relic of forest has been able to survive here. Cattle have obviously caused much damage in the way of erosion, but it seems likely that they saved the forest itself.
The present and the Future: A fire which occurred early in July this year around the forest after a season with no grazing of the vlei has caused some damage to the edges of the forest. Yet this fire, luckily, was so unusually cool that it stopped of its own accord while burning in 6 foot high grass.
This month a firebreak system has been graded around the forest with the Arcturus Council grader for which we are extremely grateful. It is hoped to fence off the area with the help of the NRB and possibly the landholder and to raise the water table by building a dam below the donga.
With these measures it is hoped to retain the forest as an ecological example of what similar areas could be and for study by amateur and professional botanists.
This is a brief attempt at explaining the presence of a swamp forest at Arcturus. Purposely, no mention has been made of grasslands found on the eastern mountains or elsewhere as this could form the subject of another article altogether.
MINI SYMPOSIUM ON POLLUTION. Mr. Aylen is prepared to run another Natural History course early next year to coincide with the NRB theme of pollution. The emphasis would be pollution’s effects on flora and fauna. If you have suggestions or comments, please let us have them.
PROSPECTUS AND NEW MEMBERS: Included with this month’s newsletter you will find a copy of our new Prospectus. We respectfully suggest that each member uses this to attract a new member. It hardly need be stated that benefits to members and to the country’s flora will increase as the size of the Society increases.
Chris Lightfoot, President
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter September 1970
SEPTEMBER OUTING: Mayfield Park on Old Mazoe Road. 0930. Morning only. This outing is to be a teaching clinic. The site is a mown vlei with numerous anthill clumps of trees. The object is to teach members a small number of trees very thoroughly rather than our usual policy of covering large numbers scantily, few of which seem to be remembered. Each committee member will conduct groups around 2 or 3 clumps and instruct on the trees thereon. Please make an effort to attend if you want to expand your knowledge. Tea will be provided by our hosts Mr. and Mrs. Parkes, after the “teach in”.
YOUR COMMITTEE: This would seem a good opportunity to re-introduce your committee, some members of which are new:
Mrs. Eileen McBean Wife of former Surveyor General
Mrs. Leslie Maarsdorp High School Teacher of Biological Science
Mrs. Barbara Tunney Accounts Clerk in PM’s Office (Treasurer)
Mr. Doug Aylen Retired, NRB
Mr. S.R.G. Carey Arcturus Road Council,Farmer
Mr. Doug Irvine Electricity Supply Commission
Mr. Chris Lightfoot Land Use Planning Specialist with Conex (President)
Dr. Sandy Murray Medical Doctor (Vice President)
Mr. A. Pearce Retired
NATURAL HISTORY COURSE 1971 The mini Symposium which Mr. Aylen hopes to organize in February next year will actually take the form of a Natural History Course, similar to that held at Ranche House College in September last year. The theme will be “Pollution of the environment”
MELSETTER’S LOVELY FORESTS: I have just spent a few days in high altitude forests in Melsetter at the invitation of Gwendingwe Estates. This Estate values the beautiful indigenous forests on the estate so greatly that it will go to the trouble of clearing paths and labeling trees for the enjoyment of visitors. There are magnificent specimens of Cape Chestnut, Calodendron capense, Kiggelaria africana, the leaves of which are completely different depending on whether they are in shade or sun, Curtisia dentata, Rapanea melanophloeos, Polyscias fulva, Olea capensis and Prunus africana. In fact just such a forest first greeted van Riebeck on the slopes of Table Mountain three centuries ago, to judge from my little book “Indigenous Trees of the Cape Peninsula” Thankfully, the need and greed which drove those Dutch Sawyers and Shipbuilders to destroy the Peninsula forests within a few years does not infuse our foresters of today. These botanical Gardens of Eden will remain a while to relieve the monotony of the Eastern Districts Pine scenery.
On reflection, Tom Muller’s high altitude forest in the Botanic Gardens, Salisbury will soon closely resemble these Melsetter Forests.
And why should these beautiful, shady and sometimes quick growing trees not take a place in Rhodesian gardens instead of the ubiquitous Toonas and Jacarandas (dare I call them woods, when they are about to put on their annual show?).
BOOK REVIEW: ‘LIVING TREES OF THE WORLD
This book was published in 1969 by Thames and Hudson Ltd. It is one of these modern books in which good illustrations, clear presentation and readable text are of paramount importance. There are in fact 350 illustrations, 67 in colour. Yet for those with a thirst for knowledge which goes beyond looking at pictures, there is a wealth.
The book is scientifically arranged in phylogenetic order, in other words in a system which reflects evolutionary process from the most primitive to the most advanced.
It is revealed that the most blue-blooded tree in this “family-tree” is one Ginkgo biloba which can be traced back unchanged to the Triassic era, 175 to 200 million years ago, when dinosaurs dozed in its shade. Today it has an entire botanical order to itself, the Ginkgoales! The author, Mr. Thomas H. Everett of New York Botanical Gardens, reports, perhaps unnecessarily, that it is a very adaptable tree and suffers little from pests and diseases.
In all about 1500 representative species are covered briefly under their families, together with a rough count of other species and genera and their distribution in the world.
The geographical coverage is very fair. Rhodesian species mentioned include the baobab, sausage tree, kaffir orange, ebony, Diospyros mespiliformis, Mimosa thorn, with a colour print by Darrel Plowes, wild olive, Olea africana, the Jujube Ziziphus mauritiana and others. Even with our present frustrating lack of Rhodesian tree books, this is hardly an inducement in itself, but as a bonus of local colour, in an already absorbing book, it makes the whole more attractive to the amateur.
A TREE: In the next newsletter, we will attempt to define a tree. Not as easy as you may think.
Chris Lightfoot, President
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter October 1970
THE BUS TOUR: OCTOBER 18TH AT 0900 HRS. MORNING ONLY. Bus tour of Salisbury Street and Park Trees. The object of this tour is to become familiar with trees of Salisbury’s streets and parks and the problems associated with their planting and maintenance. Salisbury is presently a city of lovely trees and most people would like to see it stay that way. The pressures that come with progress are continually increasing and every year more trees are felled for one or another justifiable reason. This is very often a case of the wrong tree or the wrong place and with careful planning we can still have trees of one type or another to break the concrete monotony.
The bus will leave from the Rezende Street bus terminus at 0900 hrs or shortly after. People should gather on the Stanley Avenue side of the adjoining car park. Unfortunately the bus has not been provided free of charge and a charge of 25c for members and 50c for non members will have to be made.
A roneod sheet will describe the itinerary and the main points. Officials of the Amenities Department will conduct the tour and answer queries and it is hoped that some Councillors, the Mayor and Mayoress will join the tour.
Bring your tea and a cushion. Tea will be taken at the Swan Park at about 1100 hours.
THE MAYFIELD PARK TREE LEARNING CLINIC
This seemed to be well received by those who attended and the idea will almost certainly be improved and become a regular feature, with of course, a new area and different trees each time.
MANDARA RELICT FOREST: Negotiations are under way between various interested bodies, including the Society, and the Greendale Town Council to give this piece of forest some protection. It consists of a small area, possibly 2 acres, of very well developed swamp forest similar to that at Binga, Arcturus. The main tree is again Syzygium cordatum with smaller trees of Rauvolfia inebriana, Celtis kraussiana, Ilex mitis and Rhamnus prinoides.
The forest is on a small stream immediately below Pringle Road in Mandara, only 7 miles from the city centre. Exotics are also invading here and natives are hacking at the trees.
It is hoped that this and other interesting areas of trees and other flora throughout the country will in the near future be given adequate protection.
MEN OF THE TREES: The Men of the Trees is a fellowship founded by Richard St. Barbe Baker in Kenya in 1922. The Society now has a large and effective following throughout England. Information on Men of the Trees was recently sent to us by a Sinoia member. By coincidence a week later I was given Mr. St. Barbe Bakers first book by someone with whom he stayed while in Rhodesia.
It is possible that the Tree Society will establish contact with our English counterparts and exchange Journals and Newsletters.
WHAT MAKES A TREE A TREE: In other words when does a shrub become a tree?
Many people are not aware of the necessity to distinguish; others avoid the issue. In Trees of South Africa, 117 pages are devoted to introductory preamble but nowhere is a tree defined! Most people recognize that a tree is big or small, but a shrub is smaller. But where to put the dividing line? Then again, things like St. John’s Wort, Hypericum roeperianum and species of Grewia and Euclea are usually small and shrubby, but under some circumstances one finds them as unmistakable trees.
Oxford Dictionary: A perennial plant having self supporting woody main stem or trunk, which usually develops woody branches some distance from the ground, and growing to a considerable height and size.
This is the normal picture of a tree. However, the dictionary adds: Extended to bushes and shrubs of erect growth and having a single stem. No definite heights mentioned.
Mr. St. Barbe Baker, mentioned above, quotes a tree as a long lived woody plant of upright habit having a capacity for indefinite growth. What indefinite growth means, is anybody’s guess. A small American book puts the minimum height at 10 feet. Mr. Drummond of the Salisbury Herbarium, would, if he had to make the choice, use the same figure.
The point is that the two groups blend imperceptibly in nature and any height distinction imposed can only be arbitrary and will vary according to the reason for the distinction.
To be a tree however, a plant must in general, a) to be perennial; b) have a woody stem c) have a single stem at the base with or without woody branches from its upper parts d) be self supporting; e) have a potential to grow to at least 10 feet.
WILD LIFE COMMISSION REPORT
The report has been tabled in Parliament for some time ago now and what looks like being a lengthy wrangle has begun. We can only hope that the Minister and other MP’s will realize that the important thing is not that the hierarchy of the Department must have a piece of paper to prove they have looked at books on ecology, but that all their staff demonstrate actively that they can and will apply the principles contained in such books. Most of the Department staff, be they Doctors of Science or the old type practical man are ready and willing to do just that, all they need is their Minister’s direction and encouragement.
I, for one, am tired of seeing Inyanga National Park, for example, making every effort to make money from tourists while no funds are available to protect from fire or to remove exotics from the so called National Park.
Is our National Heritage that we should be rich in a bared or degraded land?
Chris Lightfoot, President
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter November 1970
November 24th Tuesday, 2000 hrs. Film Show “Indigenous Timber Trees of Rhodesia” at Ranche House College, Rotten Row, opposite and along from the Museum. The evening will start with a short talk on the subject, illustrated with slides by Mr. Furness of the Forestry Commission. During tea, visitors will be able to inspect a large number of wood samples prepared from indigenous trees. The film “Man and his Forests” which was made in Rhodesia by the Forestry Commission will then be shown. This shows the teak forests, Baikiaea plurijuga, of Matabeleland and the Stapleford Forest Reserve on the Eastern Border north of Umtali. The latter is a fascinating island of high country, almost entirely surrounded by lower country, where the altitude drops from 4 000 feet down a ridge a few miles in length. The Forestry Commission makes use of this range of conditions by conducting experiments on pines, Pinus species on the bleak upper end, while tropical teak, Tectona grandis, is planted at the lower end.
This teak is, of course, no relation to our stalwart of the Matabeleland Kalahari sands. It is in fact of the Verbena family, (Baikiaea is a legume of the sub-family Caesalpinoideae), and is native to India, Java and Sumatra and extensive forests of it occur in Burma and Thailand. Although it grows in wet tropical forests, it is deciduous.
THE TOUR OF SALISBURY’S STREET TREES: After this tour last month we look forward to even better cooperation between ourselves and those in the Municipal amenities Department responsible for tree planting and welfare. The officials who were kind enough to accompany the tour convinced us that they were not at all ogres who crept round with hatchets while we were all safely in our offices. On our part, we conceded that buildings, traffic, water pipes, sewerage pipes, telephone and electricity lines were all just as important as trees in the centre of the city.
Happily we heard no suggestion that the number of trees in suburban gardens will be limited by the Greater Salisbury Authority, so that tree lovers are likely to be more fortunate than their counter parts, the dog lovers.
AVAILABILITY OF INDIGENOUS TREE SEEDLINGS: While we are mentioning the Forestry Commission, it may be of interest to members to have a list of the indigenous tree seedlings available at their Nursery in Salisbury.
Albizia gummifera – Flat Top Albizia Bauhinia galpinii – Pride of de Kaap
Bolusanthus speciosus – Tree Wisteria Calodendron capense – Cape Chestnut
Dais cotinifolia – Pom pom tree Ekebergia capensis –Essenhout
Erythrina lysistemon – Eastern Districts Kaffir Boom Harpephyllum caffrum – kaffir plum
Khaya nyasica – Red Mahogany Phoenix reclinata – Wild date palm
Podranea brycei – Zimbabwe creeper Rhus lancea – Kareeboom
Trichilia emetica –Natal mahogany
Of course most other commercial nurseries have at least some indigenous trees and perhaps these lists can be given some time in future newsletters.
UMTALI MUSEUM’S ARBORETUM: Many people are unaware that the Umtali Museum under Mr. D. Broadley has established a small Arboretum behind the Museum. In this strip of land exotics have been cleared and a good variety and number of indigenous species have been added to the existing trees. The area encloses a length of natural stream bed. In this, it is hoped to establish the raphia palm (Raphia ruffia which is well known from the Palm Block in the Umvukwes area. Mr. Broadley writes that the first tree to be planted in 1966 was a Ficus quibaba which is a descendant of a huge fig felled in First Street, Umtali in 1950. This parent plant was brought up from Mozambique as a seedling in a kettle by a Mr. Key Shearer.
TAIL PIECE – NEW PRESIDENT Regrettably, my wife and I will be leaving Rhodesia for a period of 2 or 3 years. Mr. Douglas Irvine will be taking over as President.
Chris Lightfoot, President
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter December 1970
There will be no outing in December. A visit will be arranged to Liwonde Farm in Goromonzi. Details of the meeting together with directions will be given in the January Newsletter.
NOVEMBER MEETING: Those members who braved the very inclement weather to attend Mr. Furness’ talk on Indigenous Timber Trees of Rhodesia will, I am sure, agree with me that it was well worth the effort.
There is no doubt that far too little is known about the timber that is available from indigenous trees, and while it is true that their growth seldom allows commercial exploitation, apart from the Rhodesian teak, Baikiaea plurijuga, Mukwa, Pterocarpus angolensis and Guibourtia coleosperma of the Kalahari sands, there are still a large number of most attractive woods available for use on a smaller scale. Samples of these were available for inspection and proved of great interest in the tea interval.
Mr. Furness’ talk was illustrated by slides provided partly by himself, and in the main, by Mr. Trevor Gordon.
NORMAN CHASE: It was with great sorrow that news was received of the death of Mr. Norman Chase in the middle of November. It was indeed fortunate that the Society was able to pay tribute to his very great contribution to the botany of Rhodesia in March last. Mrs. Masterson was fortunately able to represent the Society at his funeral, and for this we are very grateful.
CHRISTMAS AND SUBSCRIPTIONS
In conclusion may I extend to you all the very best wishes of your Committee for a happy Christmas and prosperous 1971. And to ensure the prosperity of the Society please remember to send your 1971 subscription a early as possible in the New Year.
Douglas Irvine President