TREE SOCIETY OF RHODESIA NEWS FOR 1976
The following is a summary of the news, events and happenings of the Tree Society of Rhodesia from the records we have available for 1976
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter 1 January 1976
At the start of this letter I take this opportunity of wishing all members the very best for 1976.
Monday January 5th: 1700 hours Visit to Arboretum at Prince Edward School. Ms. Lola Irvine will conduct the party. A visit to this Arboretum will be arranged again later this year, possibly Monday 27th September 1976 at 1700 hours. The date to be confirmed nearer the time. This will be led by Ms. Leslee Maasdorp, who with Mrs. Irvine has done so much for this delightful section of Prince Edward School’s activities.
Sunday January 18th: Visit to Cleveland Dam at 0900 hours. This will be a morning only visit. Many members take their luncheon baskets with them and have picnic lunches on these outings and then make up their own parties for further walks around the indigenous trees.
AYSHIRE BRANCH OF THE TREE SOCIETY OF RHODESIA had their Annual General Meeting at which Mr. Dick Petheram, vice President, and I were very pleased to attend. It was chaired by Lord Forester and it was also a great pleasure to see Mr. Trevor Gordon and Mr. Tom Muller attending. It was agreed by members at the meeting that they would continue as a Branch. Mr. Geoffrey Moore was voted as Chairman, Lord Forester stays on the committee, Mrs. Gill Henderson resigned as a committee member and her place was taken by Mrs. Mary Malan.
Mr. Trevor Gordon left a great number of indigenous plants for distribution, the shrubs will be planted in the empty holes in the Memorial Garden once the rains set in. His assistance to the Ayrshire Branch is greatly appreciated. Thank you Mrs. Beth Jones for all your work and we hope to have more outings closer to you Branch in 1976,
1975 WAS THE YEAR OF THE TREE. Something which I would be delighted to see started would be the selection of the TREE OF THE CITY and the TREE OF THE TOWN. Each city and each town in Rhodesia has many trees to be seen within its boundaries. Of these certain specimens are particularly striking. For instance, in Salisbury, and excluding the National Botanic Garden, I would place the Flamboyant Tree on the north east side of the Prince Edward Street, North Avenue intersection as my choice of the finest EXOTIC tree to be seen in this city when it is in flower. With the indigenous trees it is difficult to select a particular one. My choice would lie between the Khaya nyasica, Banket Mahogany, in the centre of the northern part of Greenwood Park the Celtis africana on the North west side of the Fife Avenue/Seventh Street intersection, one of the any Acacias in the Second Street Extension/Churchill Avenue area, or the lone Tree Violet, Securidaca longpedunculata, in a vacant stand in Quorn Avenue, Mount Pleasant. Possibly members will let the Society know of their own selections. To see them all would make a pleasant morning outing possibly on one of the third Sundays in the month in 1976 for Salisbury members. It is hoped that selections of members’ choices will come forward from all the cities and towns.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS. It is with regret that I have advised the committee that I will not be standing for re-election in 1976. Mr. Dick Petheram, vice President now, will be the natural candidate for this position. In the same way Mrs. Lola Irvine will be the natural candidate for the vice-Presidency, and will be a most valuable officer. Mrs. Barbara Tunney will be a candidate for the Treasurer’s position, it will be delightful to have her back in the ranks of the committee, but at the same time it is sad that Miss Ross will not be standing for election as Treasurer again. We would be delighted if anyone who would be prepared to undertake the duties of Secretary would please let us know as Mrs. Margery Batten, who has been secretary for the past two years feels she would like a break.
Whilst I have enjoyed the position of President, and I have appreciated greatly the honour given me in this appointment, I feel that I cannot give the necessary time to this work, which I would like so much to give whilst I am employed rather fully in my own work at the present time.
With best wishes to you all for 1976
DIX AIREY President
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter 2 February 1976
There was an excellent attendance on 5th January when Mrs. Lola Irvine showed the Society members around the Prince Edward School Arboretum. The trees there are five years old and the height they have achieved in this period is remarkable. The Peltophorum and Markhamia trees in flower are an excellent example of how attractive are indigenous trees, and frankly speaking it is considered that these species should be included in more Rhodesian Gardens. The sizes of the Polyscias fulva and the Ficus capensis were also remarkable.
The Arboretum is a great credit to Mrs. Irvine and to Mrs. Maasdorp.
As a reminder to myself of the advancing of the years I looked wistfully at the Natal Mahogany Trichelia emetica, that has grown to such an extent, which was planted in the original position where the Prince of Wales planted his tree in 1925 when he named the school “Price Edward School”. As a young cadet, bugler, in the BHSS Band I watched that occasion from a very good vantage point. Maybe in the year 2025 an ex present day pupil of Prince Edward School may in his position as a Committee member of the Tree Society of Rhodesia look back similarly.
THE CLEVELAND DAM VISIT. This was attended by forty members. It was particularly delightful to see Mrs. Aylen again.
Mrs. Lola Irvine addressed the party at the start stating that there were 5 guides along the course to be followed each one of these would describe in detail, five tree. The guides were Jeremy Asough, Jeremy Talbot, Frankie Ball, Val Trice and Doug Irvine. It was a most enjoyable and instructive outing. It must be mentioned that whilst all the guides were excellent, Val Trice kept her audience on its toes by firing questions at them during, and at the end, of her talk to see if they had followed her. They had!!
A very nice day, the rain kept off the Cleveland Dam Parkland is beautifully kept and the organistion stemming from Ms. Lola Irvine and Mr. Dick Petheram was excellent. The guides did their work very well indeed.
NOTICE OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Notice is hereby given that the 26th Annual General Meeting of the Tree Society of Rhodesia will be held on Monday 23rd February, 1976 at 2000 hours in the Auditorium of the Queen Victoria Museum, by kind permission of the Curator.
Reading of Notice Convening the Meeting
Apologies for absence
Adoption of the Minutes of the last Annual General Meeting
Matters arising from the Minute
Proposed amendments to the Constitution
Election of Officers
Any other business
Talk on ‘Trees and a little History’ by Mr. Dick Petheram
DIX AIREY President
Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter 3 March 1976
The February visit to Arbor Acres was a most enjoyable occasion for the small party of members for whom the weather cleared miraculously after days of rain. Mrs. P. Bellingan received and guided the party through a delightful stretch of woodland having previously organized the clearing of a well defined route and parking space. There was a large and interesting range of trees, over 70 on Mrs. Maasdorp’s final list, including some unusually large Peltophorum africanum and masses of the shrubby “snowberry”, Securinaca virosa and Allphylus africanus.
AGM AND SUBSCRIPTIONS
The Main resolutions at the AGM held of the 23rd February were, in summarized form:
- To increase annual subscriptions from $2 to $3 for single members, and from $3 to $4 for family members;
- To allow a period of grace of 3 months in which to pay subscriptions instead of the 12 month period which, in the past has created certain financial problems for the Society. This resolution was passed on the clear understanding that the Committee would continue to exercise discretion and moderation in its attitude towards late payments; and as it is already the third onto of the year there is, of course, no question of strict adherence to ‘the letter of the law’ in 1976. Nevertheless, early payment by members would be of considerable assistance to the Committee, more particularly as it would help clarify our position as regards “Science News” commitments.
- To introduce half year subscriptions for new members wishing to join after the 30th June in any year.
- In view of investment difficulties, to discontinue the “Life Member” category for the future without affecting in any way the status of Life Members already registered. This in no way reflects on present Life Members, whose staunch support is a source of pride and appreciation.
The Annual Report of the retiring President Mr. Dix Airey, is enclosed with this letter. The meeting expressed its sincere thanks to Dix for his able guidance and hard work during 1975 and its appreciation of his flair for attracting new members to the Society, and its relief that he has accepted re-election to the Committee even though his other commitments had ruled out another year in the chair.
The committee for 1976 is :
President Mr. R. W. Petheram
Vice President Mrs. Lola Irvine
Hon. Secretary Mrs. M. I. Batten – re elected
Hon. Treasurer Mrs. B. E. Tunney
Committee members Mr. N. M. Airey; Mrs. S. M. Duncanson, re-elected; Mr. G. R. Hall, re-elected;
Mrs. G. M. Masterson; Mr. A. F. W. Pearce, re-elected
Mrs. Lola Irvine’s selection as vice President was warmly applauded at the AGM and will, I know be a source of pleasure and satisfaction also to members who were unable to attend – as will the return of Mrs. Barbara Tunney and the election of Mrs. Gill Masterson to the committee.
The Committee is grateful to Mrs. Marjorie Batten for agreeing to carry on as Secretary, and sincerely endorses Mr. Airey’s Presidential tribute to Miss Theresa Rose for her expert services as Treasurer last year.
Mr. Anton Ellert was unable to stand for re-election to the Committee, but continues to gather the fruits of indigenous trees all over the country, in the most likely and unlikely places, and has the gift of persuading nearly all of them to grow. This he is doing partly for the benefit of the Society, and for those who would care to send interesting seeds to him, his address is, Rufaro House, Main Borrowdale Road, Borrowdale, Salisbury.
A talk on “Trees and a little history” was given by R. W. Petheram after the AGM. Ways and means of distributing copies of this address are being explored.
MAKABUSI WOODLANDS: At a recent meeting convened by the Wild Life Society, at which the Tree Society’s interest was most ably expressed by Mrs. Judy Reid and Mr. Jeremy Ascough a number of societies, including our own, agreed to consider the appointment of nominees to serve on a combined committee, for the furtherance of the Makabusi Project.
Mrs. Reid, in her address, emphasized the fact that the Makabusi Woodland Walkers who meet every Tuesday at 1630 hours at the Eastern end of the Hillside Road Extension, welcome all comers.
DICK PETHERAM President
THE TREE SOCIETY OF RHODESIA PRESIDENT’S REPORT FOR 1975
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with a great deal of sorrow that I have to recall the sad loss to our Society of Mr. Douglas Aylen past President and Honorary Life member who died in July 1975. I would be grateful if you will stand in honour of his memory. Thank you. Mr. Aylen will be remembered for his great contributions to our Society and in particular for his work in the Makabusi Woodlands area. Discussions are in process with Mr. Ron James in regard to a Memorial to commemorate Mr. Aylen at this locality.
A donation to St. Giles was made in memory of Mr. John Hill, Life Member, whose death was recorded at the previous AGM. Mr. Hill did most valuable work for our Society.
During the past year, as I forecast at the last Annual General Meeting, we have had venues with a distinct mining flavour. The outings to Trojan Mine, Bindura and Mangula Mine, possibly highlighted our excursions. It was most important to see, as we were shown, what would normally be unsightly dumps, now transformed to areas extremely pleasing to the eye. The Mining Companies’ work in this direction, is greatly appreciated by all concerned. Also the joint visit to Bagaziwa with the Ayrshire branch of the Tree Society as hosts, not forgetting the great assistance from the Management of African Chrome Mines Limited, in grading roads and laying on the ferry shuttle services over the last 10 kilometers was a great success.
The other visits made during the year were also very successful and most informative. I wish to express our grateful thanks to our various hosts.
During the drier months of the year the informal walks through the Botanic Gardens with Mr. Tom Muller were very much appreciated by all. Also what has now become an annual visit to Greenwood Park with Mr. Tom Muller was extremely successful. Through a note to the ‘Carpenter’ of the Rhodesia Herald advance notice was given of this visit in the hope that it would interest the surrounding flat dwellers in the vicinity. It did. A rough count of those attending was 76!
The Makabusi Woodland walkers who met every Tuesday, late afternoon, under Mrs. Judy Reid, have kept up their interest in the most important area.
On the subject of mines, before I go on to our other matters, as a miner myself, I have always been worried by the cutting down of indigenous trees, in the areas around mines, for firewood purposes. The figure of half a cord of wood for each African employee per month is roughly the amount that is cut. To replace this by what we refer to on mines as ‘gum tree plantations’ would require possibly 750 acres, 303.5 hectares, of trees of 6 years of age to keep a labour force of 500-600 employees plus a few needs of the mine for mine timber irregular supply of their requirements. To replace these fuel needs by coal could be an expensive business to those mines distant from rail heads.
BINGA FOREST. Mr. Petheram reports that sixteen visits were made from Salisbury to this area, in addition to several visits from Arcturus by Mr. Carey.
The fencing of a large part of the area by the Natural Resources Board has resulted in protection for tree seedlings such as Celtis which, previously, were cropped by cattle. The destruction of the Mauritius thorn Caesalpinia decapetala, is showing signs of success which is a great credit to all concerned, particularly the Weed Research Unit of the Henderson Research Station, Mr. P. Richards and Mr. P. Thomas who are thanked for their guidance, and for their assistance with the provision of trained African labour, three major sorties were made by Mr. Richard’s team.
TREES OF HISTORICAL INTEREST. Mr. Dick Petheram has done a great deal of work on this subject. You will hear his talk tonight on the results of his investigations.
YOUTH EDUCATION. Members of the Tree Society responded to invitations to give field talks to the Y.F.C., the junior branch of the Wildlife Society, classes of pupils from Junior Schools, and to a group of children of various ages from Moffat School, Arcadia.
Mr. Neville Jones, headmaster of Selborne/Routledge School, has inaugurated a certificate award scheme at his school, an interest in trees, created by this award could instill in a child an interest which will continue for life.
Mrs. Lola Irvine, Mrs. Leslee Maasdorp and Mrs. Val Trice deserve the highest praise fr their wonderful work with the Prince Edward School Arboretum. The way in which various trees have flourished is remarkable.
A junior of our Society, L. Waters, of Chaplin School, Gwelo, won the Tree Society prize at the Young Scientists Exhibition for his presented paper. He won also the Natural Resources and the Young Farmers’ prize for his two year study.
The Matabeleland Branch have named the trees at Baines School.
THE LEARNERS GROUP. This important branch of our Society is sponsored by Mr. Dick Petheram, who has had assistance from Mrs. Masterson.
The ‘learners’ comprise newcomers to the Society who do not have knowledge of indigenous trees when they commence with the group, and those who know possibly twenty five trees and more of the common trees.
AFFILIATIONS. During the year our Society was affiliated to the Rhoman Trust and to The Conservation Trust of Rhodesia. In different ways these organizations share with us our interest, and concern for, the preservation of the natural beauty of our land.
AYSHIRE BRANCH OF THE TREE SOCIETY. It is with great pleasure that we heard that the Ayrshire Branch decided to stay with ourselves and not to branch out on their own. Their area is a delightful one, and a joy to visit.
THE MATABELELAND BRANCH continues to keep up members’ interest in that Province and the Mashonaland members who joined them on one visit to Bulawayo and the Matopos enjoyed their visit greatly.
GENERAL. Special thanks are due to Colonel Kemp for his great assistance at the Lake McIlwaine Arboretum. Mr. Tom Muller for his continued interest in our groups, and his great help in general, the staff at the Herbarium, Mr. Bob Drummond and Mr. Steven Mavi, in particular, and to Mr. Trevor Gordon for all his assistance and for the great work he has done in his description of two particular trees in each issue of the Rhodesia Science News – very great work indeed.
I must thank Mr. Alan Pearce for producing the Financial Statement and for his organizing of our transport on our long trips into the country. MISS Rose, who has been our Honorary Treasurer, and has done the most valuable work for our Society, resigned towards the end of the year when she left to live with her sister in Melsetter. I wish to thank her for all her work.
It was a great honour to be your President in 1975 particularly as it was “The Year of the Tree”.
I am delighted that Mr. Dick Petheram will be standing for the position of President for the ensuing year. He has done a great deal of work for our Society, which is very greatly appreciated. I think it is the first time that any lady has stood for the post of Vice President Mrs. Lola Irvine is most knowledgeable on trees. A delightful person, she will be of tremendous value to the Society in this post.
To the Committee and to the members I wish to thank you all for your support and work throughout the year. Thank you all.
DIX AIREY President
TREE SOCIETY OF RHODESIA NEWSLETTER 4 APRIL 1976
The Committee is in the process of selecting venues from several alternatives for later in the year, and it is hoped to arrange, in addition, one or two evening lectures or slide shows.
THE MAKABUSI WOODLAND WALK at 1630 every Tuesday. Met at the eastern end of the Hillside Road Extension.
The March visit to Mr. G. Purchase’s farm, Risumbi, was well attended. We are indebted to Mr. Purchase for the arrangements made to receive us, and to him and his staff for the ferrying service which relieved members of the need to hump lunch baskets in the course of their vigorous explorations. To Mr. and Mrs. Irvine and Mrs. Frankie Bell, our thanks for the pre-visit recce, and to Douglas and Lola our additional thanks for their organization and leadership.
Mr. Alan Pearce’s bus arrangements worked with the precision we have come to expect, the only minor hitch occurring when it was found that not all farm turn-offs are designed with 36 seater buses in mind. However, with Alan scouting ahead and Mr. Dix Airey bringing his prospecting skills into play, and with considerable expertise on the part of the driver, all hazards were successfully negotiated.
The pleasing variety of trees included an outstanding Terminalia mollis, with numbers of T. stenostachya around; impressive specimens of Monotes engleri, mixed with M. glaber and a magnificent Catha edulis in flower at the river.
Could I ask the two or three members who booked seats but were unable to turn up, to let Mr. Pearce have the fares please, $1,25. It would help. This of course, does not apply to those who arranged for others to take their bookings.
NEW MEMBERS: A very warm welcome to new members. We are looking forward to seeing more of you at our outings; and for those who would like to join the occasional Saturday afternoon rambles of the Learner Group, the Saplings, there will be opportunities to do so, a little later in the year.
CONSERVATION TRUST OF RHODESIA: At the AGM of the Trust, to which we are affiliated, Messrs. G. Hall and R.W. Petheram represented the Tree Society.
The meeting decided to appoint a Liaison Committee of affiliated organizations, and it is hoped that, through this medium, projects such as that of the Makabusi Woodlands will gain added impetus.
CONSTITUTION: This type of document cannot be claimed to fit snugly into the category of ‘light reading’ but any member who would like a copy of the Society’s Constitution has only to let the Hon. Secretary or the Hon. Treasurer know.
SUBSCRIPTIONS: A tear off slip is appended for members who would care to use it to accompany their cheques.
The Hon. Treasurer and the Committee in general are grateful to those who have made a point of sending their subscriptions in already, and are particularly appreciative of those who not only paid in advance at the old rate, but promptly sent in the additional dollar on learning of the increase.
DICK PETHERAM President
TREE SOCIETY OF RHODESIA NEWSLETTER 5 MAY 1976
The April Meeting was held on Easter Sunday – a departure from our usual habit of moving the meeting to a later date, if the 3rd Sunday should fall on a Public Holiday, and we discovered that not everyone leaves Salisbury at Easter!
“Chipping” is a delightful place for tree lovers. The hills were dotted with Hymenodictyon floribundum which is now showing its beautiful flame colours, hence its name “Rhodesian fire bush”. A very poorly specimen of Urera tenax was found on the top of one of the hills. This is the stinging nettle tree and something to be avoided as it is armed with stinging hairs and it is so easy to grasp hold of when climbing a hill. Its hairs are powerful enough to raise a blister on the skin.
We listed over 80 trees which is quite a record for us and on the little rock outcrop with the hut where we gathered after lunch there were 20 different trees which are listed below:
Brachystegia boehmii Rhus longipes
Brachystegia glaucescens Rhus leptodictya
Cassia abbreviata Rothmannia fischerii
Clerodendrum myrioides Sterculia quinqueloba
Clerodendrum wildii Tarenna neurophylla
Euclea natalensis Terminalia stenostachya
Hexalobus monopetalus Ziziphus mucronata
Cussonia arborea Ozoroa reticulate
Ochna schweinfurthiana Pappea capensis
Pittisporum viridiflorum Mimusops zeyheri
This is the first time we have seen Rothmannia fischerii on an outing. Certainly a most rewarding outcrop, we need have looked no further than that small area to have made it a worthwhile journey.
VISIT TO ROCK PAINTINGS: On Sunday 23rd May the Pre History Society are visiting the Makumbe Cave, Chinamora TTL and might have a few seats available for Tree Society members. If you are interested please contact Mrs. Peggy Izzett, phone 83419.
Sunday May 16th: Lion and Cheetah Park. We have been invited by Mr. O. Bristow and Mr. D. Rushworth to the Lion and Cheetah Park. In the morning we will walk through the kopje area where there are three regions of soil and trees – kopje type, lower sand soil and ironstone belts.
I can promise that with Mr. Rushworth to tell us all about this it can only be exciting and instructive.
After a picnic lunch, there is a tearoom which supplies light refreshments and a braai lunch, we will look at the trees around the animal cages.
LOLA IRVINE Acting President
TREE SOCIETY OF RHODESIA NEWSLETTER 6 JUNE 1976
Our May meeting was spent at the Salisbury Lion and Cheetah Park. Mr. Dave Rushworth took us on a walk which encompassed three distinct types of vegetation. The first was amongst granite kopje in which he explained how the original Brachystegia – Julbernardia growth had been virtually eliminated by Shona tribesmen while hiding in the caves from the raiding Matabele. We moved into the lower sand soil area, the soil having been washed down from the kopjes, where cattle had been extensively grazing. Here the dominant species was Terminalia sericea with a small stand of Euphorbia matabelica. Then up into the banded ironstone kopje area which was covered in Brachystegia glaucescens, mountain acacia, and Brachystegia boehmii, Prince of Wales feathers, here there was hybridization which looked like glaucescens/boehmii. This could be worth further investigation as only glaucescens/spiciformis hybridization is shown in the Central area in Mr. R. B. Drummond’s recent tree list.
We were shown the parasite Pilostyles aethiopica which is found on Julbernardia and Brachystegia. It moves branch by branch ultimately killing the host tree.
After lunch we explored the area round the animal cages where we saw Cassine matabelica in profusion, a tall, slender, light grey and smooth-trunked tree which we don’t often see and then find difficulty in identifying.
We are particularly grateful to Mr. Ruthworth for making us aware of aspects other than just the trees. We should not specialize too much in just identification of the trees but observing them in their environment and asking why and not what?
77 species were recorded.
Our very special thanks is due to Mr. O. Bristow and Mr. D. Rushworth for making this day possible.
Seven members took advantage of the Prehistory Society’s invitation to join them on their trip to Makumbe Cave, Chinamora TTL. The cave was vast and rather mutilated. It contained a thirty foot long frieze of what had once been a procession of six elephants with a calf. We were introduced to the word “formling” used to denote the rock outline forms so widely seen but not so easily explained.
Sunday June 20th: Tall Trees, Ruwa. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson have invited us to their farm in the morning where we shall have a picnic lunch before going on to Mr. Batho’s place. The trees on both farms are either labeled or listed!!
Mrs. Robinson has offered to provide tea and cold drinks at lunchtime.
EXTRA MEETING for people not going away at Rhodes and Founders
Monday July 12th: to Spelonken at Christon Bank. A bus can be laid on if desired. This will also replace the Botanic Garden evening visit.
LOLA IRVINE Acting President
TREE SOCIETY OF RHODESIA NEWSLETTER 7 JULY 1976
Highlights of a Journey. To members who might view this sub-heading with misgiving, I hasten to say that the newsletter is not about to be used as a vehicle for reminiscences of every sort, connected with the recent visit to South Africa of my wife and myself.
There were however some highlights associated with trees, and the first of them was a truly heartwarming reception by the Chairman and Committee of the Matabeleland Branch of the Society in the course of our southward journey. The 36 hour stopover in Bulawayo was packed with hospitality and kindness. The programme on the second day took in a tour, with Mrs. Wendy Bullock, of some of Bulawayo’s historic trees; and Miss Janet Webber’s charming dinner party in the evening included, during a short and eventful interlude, a truly spectacular demonstration of the use of local vegetation as primitive candles. Later in the evening we had the pleasure of meeting other Branch members also, to talk on “trees and history”.
We enjoyed every moment of our stay. To Miss Webber and her colleagues our renewed greetings and thanks.
We proceeded to the coast, and in her May Newsletter Mrs. Irvine hazarded the guess that we would be busy trying to identify all the trees in Natal. Well, the operative word was “trying” and this we did with little success until two strokes of luck favoured us.
At a pleasant spot near Port Shepstone we found a camping site with name plates on the trees! It is quite miraculous how expert one can become in those circumstances, but, seriously, the discovery was quite encouraging, because some trees which we had thought looked familiar but which we were hesitant about so far from home, were confirmed as old friends, Bridelia macrantha, Antidesma venosum, Rauvolfia caffra, Hallaria lucida, Cussonia spicata, Ekebergia capensis and Syzygim cordatum, amongst them. One’s reading should, I suppose, bring home the fact that certain vegetation belts on the African continent are fairly extensive, but somehow the vegetation in general along the coast looks so different that one is apt to feel that one is in a completely strange and unknown tree world; and I gather from a few conversations that we are not the only Rhodesians who get that feeling. Yet with a little encouragement, one is able to recognize, in the roadside woodlands or along the inland streams, a goodly number of our trees and shrubs. In that environment it helps to channel one’s thoughts into the realms of our riverine and Eastern Districts species.
With many other trees, of course, we were hopelessly lost, until we had the great good fortune to meet, and spend the best part of a day with, Mr. and Mrs. H. B. Nicholson. Older members of the Society will remember Mr. Nicholson’s series of “Notes from the Natal South Coast” in the 1960’s, in “Trees in South Africa” the Journal of the Tree Society of Southern Africa. He is an acknowledged authority on the subject, and a few hours with him and Mrs. Nicholson were a joy and an education.
The most frequently occurring of the trees we saw along the coastal road seemed to us to be Brachylaena discolor, the Natal Silver Tree. Its occurrence is both natural and aided; it strikes easily and is popularly used for windbreaks and hedges. It looked to us very like our Brachylaena rotundata, with the striking silvery furry undersurface of the leaf contrasting spectacularly with the green of the top surface.
Of the many trees new to us, we like immensely the Protorhus longifolia, family ANACERDIACEAE, which was, wherever we came across it, strong growing and handsome, with a dense cover of large, dark green leaves. Here and there a drying leaf turns red, as if to emphasize the green glory of its background.
Our return journey coincided with a long week end holiday in South Africa, and members of the S.A. Tree Society had chosen that weekend to camp on a farm in the vicinity of the Zoutzpanberg. We spent a day with them, and there could not have been a more enjoyable climax to our holiday. Under the expert guidance of Mr. Denzel Carr, Chairman of that Society, we wandered over a picturesque kopje in the Waterpoort area, with the slope falling steeply away to a valley on one side, and a really exciting array of trees both below us and above.
Matabeleland members, especially, would have been in their element there. But for Mr. Carr’s presence, the variety of acacias and commiphoras would have been utterly beyond us, there are said to be 16 different species of the latter in the area, and there was an abundance of Adansonia, Gyrocarpus, Entandophragma, Lonchocarpus, Sclerocarya, Kirkia, Pappea, Hexalobus, Sterculia, Ficus, Boscia and the lovely Ptaeroxylon. Down below were Xanthocersis and Berchamia. Completely new to us was Grewia flava with a markedly more slender leaf than we usually associate with the genus, and Grewia hexamita with single and double fused fruits, some of which were almost 20mm across.
A brief visit to the Waterpoort Railway Station was also well worthwhile. One does not normally associate such places with beauty, but this one has been awarded a prize for landscaping and it was well deserved. In a setting of small lawns and gravel paths, imaginative use has been made of indigenous trees such as Commiphora and Sesamothamnus, unlikely subjects for a cultivated garden one would think, but very much in keeping with the surrounds, fossil wood was also featured, and this included a remarkable fossilized cycad in close proximity to a living cycad of almost identical size.
DOWN TO EARTH
June Visits: The first of these was a late afternoon walk through the Mazoe River section of the Botanic Garden, Salisbury, under Mr. Muller’s leadership. In the short period available before we dispersed in semi darkness, Tom managed, in inimitable fashion, to impart a staggering amount of information on no less than 20 species, namely, Syzygium cordatum, Mimusops zeyheri, Myrica serrata, Combretum erythrophyllum, Bequaertiodendron magalismontanum, Ficus capensis, Ekebergia capensis, Olea africana, Apodytes dimidiata, Olinia vanguerioides, Nuxia oppositifolia, 2 Syzygium hybrids, Rhus lancea, Ilex mitis, Salix subserrata, Cassine aethiopica, Rhus quartiniana, Carissa edulis, Rhamnus prinoides, Linociera battiscombei and Rauvolfia caffra.
The venue of the full day outing on the 20th June was Ruwa, on Mr. D. A. Robinson’s property, Tall Trees, in the morning, and on Mr. G. Batho’s adjoining property in the afternoon. It is always heartening to meet landowners with a deep appreciation of the plant life around them and with a determination both to conserve what they have and to rehabilitate any ill used land which they have taken over. Mr. Batho’s property has a more varied range of natural features than has Mr. Robinson’s, and is consequently rather more interesting in terms of vegetation, but both are to be congratulated on the pride and care lavished on their holdings.
Perhaps the most memorable of the species seen were Pittosporum viridiflorum, growing in profusion and in some cases extraordinarily prolific in fruit, and a stately Brachystegia hybrid, glaucescens x spiciformis?. This was growing next to a B. glaucescens; a fact which made the contrasts all the more vivid and interesting.
Our thanks to our hosts, and a special thank you to Mrs. Robinson for her kindness in providing and presiding over tea and cold drinks during the lunch break.
About 70 species were noted, but it was clear from the records kept by Mr. Robinson and Mr. Batho that we had not covered the whole range.
Makabusi Woodland Walks: Every Tuesday at 1630 hours. Meet at the eastern end of Hillside Road Extension.
MATABELELAND BRANCH In accordance with a suggestion from Bulawayo, the Matabeleland Branch bulletin will in future be combined with this one. This development, which will take effect from August, is aimed not only at economy, it will add an interesting dimension to this newsletter and will, it is hoped, be of particular value to members in all parts of the country who plan a visit to Bulawayo at any time.
Matabeleland members are asked to take particular note of the change, and to “watch this space” for information in general from Matabeleland Branch Committee.
It was a pleasure to find, in the May issue of Rhodesia Science News that the distinction gained by Matabeleland members in the matter of the species Erythrophyllum transvaalensis had been put on record. Members who overlooked this item will find it on page 147 of that issue.
APPEAL FOR CRYSTAL BALL In the preparation of new Field Cards which are now available, together with some old ones which we hope members will still buy to avoid wastage, I executed what I thought was a brilliant manoeuvre by deleting a few species previously lists, to make room for other species which we and Matabeleland members, encounter more frequently.
Among the species removed, after consulting past “sighting” records, was Rothmannia fischeri. There was no record whatsoever of its occurrence on any of our expeditions.
In each of three outings which have taken place since the new card went to print, at Chipping, at Makumbe Cave, Chinamora, and at Ruwa on our last outing, Rothmannia fischeri has popped up in derision.
I am beginning to feel that basket weaving would be a less frustrating hobby; alternatively, a new crystal ball might help.
DICK PETHERAM President
TREE SOCIETY OF RHODESIA NEWSLETTER 8 AUGUST 1976
We were fortunate, in July, in having the expert leadership of Mr. Tom Muller and Mr. Trevor Gordon respectively, at successive outings; the first at Spelonken on the Monday of Rhodes and Founders weekend, and the second in the Darwendale area on Sunday178th July.
The visit to Spelonken, or rather to that part of it which has become an extension to the Botanic Garden, was devoted initially to exploring a small stretch of riverine vegetation. Of particular interest was Teclea rogersii which was new to several of us, Linociera battiscombei which we have recorded infrequently, Acokanthera oppositifolia, some of it in flower, Myrica serrata and a species of Erythrococca. There was a fair spread of Rhus lancea, Bequaertiodendron magalismontanum, Cassine aethiopica and Maytenus undata, and some fine specimens of Olea africana, Ilex mitis, Combretum erythrophyllum and Celtis africana. Surprisingly in that environment we saw neither Mimusops nor Syzygium, and this led us to debate the possibility of severe frost exposure on that particular sector of the Mazoe.
Among the many species seen on higher ground were Dalbergia nitidula in flower, a lot of Monotes glaber and M. engleri, Markhamia accuminata and Uapaca nitida. On the kopjes, the mountain acacia, Dalbergia nitidula were magnificent, and Commiphora trees, mainly C. marlothii, shared the upper slopes with them. Euphoria ingens, Pterolobium stellatum and flowering aloes, including a splendid group of A. excelsa added variety and colour.
Mr. Trevor Gordon always has something up his sleeve for us, on our visits to his area. On this occasion it was a tour of exploration of a kopje called Marengoa, across the Dyke a few miles beyond Darwendale. The path which had thoughtfully been cleared of excessive overgrowth led through an interesting tree belt to the rock strewn base of the kopje; then through a narrow defile, across the mouth of a lovely domed cave, over the remains of old fortifications, and around to another group of big boulders decorated with rock paintings. These included elephant, giraffe, ostrich, lion, several species of antelope and, as far as we could judge, wild dog and hyena. In addition, there was a bold pattern of oblique strokes sweeping in a shallow arc right across the most lavishly decorated boulder face and curving around to form an irregular rather flattened circle, as if it might be intended to depict a large kraal or enclosure. Within it was a darker beehive shape which one could imagine to be a hut, and a concentrated collection of additional oblique strokes which we thought might indicate vegetation. This thought was strengthened by the fact that near the perimeter of the enclosure was a further tracery of strokes in a pattern which brought to mind the graceful palm trees, Phoenix reclinata.
These, at all events, were among the several hypotheses of the group which indulged in the luxury of giving free rein to its collective imagination for quite a while. I have since ascertained, though, that the archaeologists are not particularly impressed with our flights of fancy. The “formling” type of rock painting, of which the series of oblique strokes is apparently a sample, is the subject of much theorizing, and I gather that trees and paddock outlines don’t figure prominently in that theorizing. A beehive and a swarm of bees might, it seems, be more in keeping with a section of archaeological thinking, and it is interesting to recall that Mr. Gordon mentioned seeing a clear representation of this in another cave.
Enquiries also reveal that pottery recovered from ploughed fields below the hill is thought to date back to 600 – 700 AD and that the walling on the higher levels is probably 18th or 19th Century.
The study of trees was almost incidental, but nonetheless rewarding. The clambering Phytolacca dodecandra was in full bloom near the summit, in terms of size, Ziziphus mucronata and Euclea natalensis seemed to be particularly well suited to that environment; a mass of Allophylus africana guarded the approaches; a Ficus capensis trailed its roots from one high storey of boulders downwards towards the floor below; flourishing Erythroxylum emarginatum, Rhus lancea and serrate leaved Pappea capensis softened the starker granite outlines, and Commiphora marlothii and Ficus burkei vied with each other for places of prominence. The variety of trees below included Strychnos potatorum which created considerable interest, and Cassine matabelica which created confusion as well as interest in the ranks.
The lunch hour was spent at Audley End and in the afternoon Mr. Gordon conducted us through his arboretum and the lovely kopje area adjoining.
It was a typically enjoyable Audley End outing and a pleasure to meet again, Trevor and May.
We had with us, also, a very welcome guest, Mrs. Dorothy Carr, a guest only in the sense that she was on a short visit from S. Africa. Mr. Carr, Chairman of the Tree Society of Southern Africa, and Mrs. Carr, are in fact members of our Society.
Binga Forest Mr. Paul Richards of Henderson Research Station has again come to our aid at Binga. He and I, with a number of African personnel, spent a pretty active day there recently and for the first time felt that we could afford to turn our attention away from Mauritius thorn for part of the time, and attack other exotic intruders. A large number of Cedrillas, Seringas and Jacarandas were cut and treated with arboricide.
DICK PETHERAM President
PS A July 23rd Rhodesia Herald report “splashes” tree felling operations on the Borrowdale Road and reactions thereto. I would like members to know that my comment to the reporter who phoned was that replanting should be of indigenous trees.
TREE SOCIETY OF RHODESIA NEWSLETTER 9 SEPTEMBER 1976
Sunday September 19th: Dr. J. A. Murray’s farm, Goromonzi. Bus from Rezende Street terminus 0900 hours. It is three years since the last memorable day we spent with Dr. and Mrs. Murray and there is much to see of Highveld, sandveld and vlei verge vegetation. In addition to Dr. Murray’s general guidance, we hope to get some fresh angles on trees from Stan and Val Trice, Jack and Judy Reid, Jeremy Ascough, Jeremy Talbot and Anton Ellert; all of whom have been good enough to “volunteer” with a little persuasion here and there, to lead consultation groups at points which will be selected beforehand, along the tree walk. Please bring picnic lunches.
Monday September 27th: P.E. School Arboretum at 1614 by kind invitation of Mrs. L. Maasdorp. The Arboretum is a fine example of what could and should be done at all schools, if people like Mrs. Irvine and Mrs. Maasdorp were given a free hand at each. Use North Avenue entrance.
August Meeting: We are indebted to Mr. and Mrs. D. M. Fleming for allowing us to roam at will over Gilston Estate, Salisbury South, on Sunday 15th August. We confined our exploration to an area between the Norton turn off and the Hunyani River and although the riverine fringe was disappointing we found much of interest on the sandveld higher up.
About 70 species were identified, the most colourful of which was Schotia brachypetala, which was either in bud or in bloom on every second anthill. There can be few places in the country with so dense a population of the genus Gardenia. Canthium luillense and Cassine aethiopica were also prevalent.
Among the species not recently encountered elsewhere, was Mundulea sericea, and a tree which puzzled us all, until Mr. Drummond subsequently identified a leaf specimen at the National Herbarium, was Cassine transvaalensis.
NEW BOOK ON ACACIAS
Conservation Press (Pty). Ltd., is now taking orders for Mr. Denzil Carr’s new publication “The South African Acacias”.
Price: Collector’s edition R75; Ordinary Edition R15.
There is no doubt that the book will be in great demand because of Mr. Carr’s high reputation in his field and because a detailed and illustrated authoritative work on this genus is so badly needed.
Mr. Carr, Chairman of the Tree Society of Southern Africa for the past ten years, is also a member of this Society.
Descriptive pamphlets and order forms may be obtained from Mrs. L. Irvine, 1 Fairbridge Avenue, Belgravia, or phone 21362, but with exchange control it may be necessary to order through local bookshops.
DICK PETHERAM. President
TREE SOCIETY OF RHODESIA NEWSLETTER 10 OCTOBER 1976
It is some time since we reviewed, in detail, the names, titles and addresses on the membership list, and I suspect that a few errors have crept in over the years. The information is passed on by us to Science News, and by Science News to a commercial organization which cuts the plates from which the addresses on the newsletters are imprinted. Any errors are therefore repeated month after month until a new plate is cut, and such errors, I know, can be irritating, or even a source of embarrassment, to the recipient. Please let us know of any amendments which should be made.
We missed Anton Ellert who went out to the farm on the recce and was all set to play his part in the seminar, but had to withdraw for army duty.
Binga Swamp Forest
This is an important expedition in the sense that, after a short review of the vicissitudes through which the forest has passed, we should discuss the critical decisions which are now being debated as to its future. I hope, too, that members will have the opportunity of meeting Mr. Paul Richards of Henderson Research Station who has helped so tremendously during the past 18 months in coping with the Mauritius thorn and other alien plants. I hope that there will also be an opportunity for members to renew acquaintance with Mr. and Mrs. Carey who form so vital a link at the Arcturus end of our Binga Forest operational chain.
In the forest and its immediate surroundings are Acacia, Bequaertiodendron, Catha, Celtis, Cussonia, Diospyros, Dombeya, Euclea, Erythrina, Ficus, Flacourtia, Ilex, Maesa, Mondia, Maytenus, Myrica, Pavetta, Pittosporum, Piliostigma, Rhamnus, Rhus, Rhoicissus, Rauvolfia, Syzygium, Vernona and Ziziphus. Some of the Syzygium cordatum and Ilex mitis are fine specimens.
Tuesday October 19th: Queen Victoria Museum Auditorium 2000 hours. A talk, with slide illustrations, by Mr. Stephen Mavi on “Plants used medicinally by the African herbalist”. A small entrance fee of 2c will be charged to help cover the cost of the hall and projector hire.
Learner Group: Occasional outings of about 2.5 hour duration on Saturday afternoons; usually with Mrs. Masterson in attendance to moderate any excessive flights of fancy on our part, in the identification of trees. Any new members who wish to join these expeditions usually in or close to town might care to let me know their phone numbers.
MATABELELAND BRANCH: The following is the most recent dispatch from Bulawayo: “Our outing on October 18th takes us into the Matopos to a charming spot not far off Circular Drive. Because of the heat we would like to try an early start, so will meet at 0700 hours at Retreat Shopping Centre. Bring along your own breakfast and enjoy it by the side of some cascades.”
NEW BOOKS: In recording the release of Mr. Denzil Carr’s book “The South African Acacias” last month, we suffered the intervention of a gremlin which apparently considered that the price of the collector’s edition should be R57, whereas it is in fact R75. Sorry about that. The ordinary edition costs R15.
The Press has given some publicity to another boo, “Wild Flowers of Rhodesia” by Mr. Robert Drummond and Mr. Darrel Plowes. We are awaiting further information from the publishers. With authors of such standing, this, too, should be a very worth while acquisition.
DICK PETHERAM President
TREE SOCIETY OF RHODESIA NEWSLETTER 11 NOVEMBER 1976
Sunday November 21st: Eyre’s Pass, Great Dyke. From Mr. Dix Airey who has kindly made all the arrangements for this visit, comes the news that Mr. Newby Tatham will be our guide over the area, and that Mr. Trevor Gordon will be there to take the lead on trees.
Mrs. Lola Irvine recently drew my attention to the fact that the name of T.A.P. Eyre features in Robert Cary’s “The Pioneer Corps” and is is with acknowledgements to Mr. Cary that I have extracted the following information.
“Thomas Arthur Page Eyre. 1859 – 1899. Cpl. I A Troop, Pioneer Corps; after which he prospected in the Lomagundi area with J. A. Spreckly and W.H. Brown. Discovered the Eldorado Mine. Set up, with his brother, Herbert, a trading store for prospectors at Eyre’s Poort. Built road to Umvukwes on contract for the Government. In charge of scouts in Col. Beal’s column in 1896 and later guide to Col. Alderson’s column 1986/7. Took part in Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Procession June 1897 where he was conspicuous because of his height 6ft. 4 ins. Allotted Kilmacduagh Farm, with brother Herbert, Lomagundi District, September 1896. Served on Chamber of Mines from 1896 onwards. Died 9th March 1899 from blackwater fever.”
MATABELELAND BRANCH From Bulawayo comes the following information: “Scarcely out of town, the Stakesby Lewis farm is the site of our next meeting. Some interesting trees and a picnic along the grassy banks of the river should make this a very pleasant outing. We meet at 0830 hours outside Modern Motors on Sunday 21st November.
Our Annual General Meeting is planned for the evening of Friday 26th November at 2000 hours in the Milton High School Pavilion, enter the school grounds by the Pioneer House gates on Townsend Road.”
OCTOBER MEETINGS The meetings at Greenwood Park and Binga Forest were both well attended; the former, through Mr. Airey’s excellent public relations work, by many members of the general public as well as by Tree Society members.
Added enjoyment was given to the Binga meeting by the presence of Mr. and Mrs. P. V. M. Richards. It is very largely due to Mr. Richards’ help that we feel that we might at last be getting on top of the Mauritius Thorn problem at Binga, although of course, the removal of the thorn canopy in parts is having a deleterious effect on the vlei soil. We are now consulting with the NRB and other authorities on the subject of the need to restore the high water table which has been adversely affected by cattle trampling and erosion.
We had the additional pleasure of meeting, again, Stan and Renee Carey, and also Mr. George Milburn of Arcturus who quietly comes to our aid when most we need it. In the September Newsletter I thought it prudent to warn members with “low slung cars” to get lifts from other people, rather than risk the forest approach road on their own. But by the time the Binga expedition took place, Mr. Carey had prepared a road which we could safely have traveled over on roller skates, and had also taken steps to ensure easy access through such obstacles as barbed wire fences.
There was a good attendance also at Mr. Stephen Mavi’s interesting talk on “Plants used medicinally by the African herbalist”. With the aid of slides and a few plant specimens, Stephen gave some tantalizing glimpses of African beliefs and customs. A particularly impressive feature of the talk was the extraordinary wide range of folk lore and practice touched upon through the medium of a mere handful of plant species. There were only a couple of dozen in all, a clever selection which won the full attention of the audience throughout the evening.
We were delighted to have in the audience such staunch friends as Mr. R. Drummond, Mr. H. M. Biegel and Mr. M. Leppert, and to have the support also of several members of the Prehistory Society.
PREHISTORY SOCIETY If this newsletter should see the light of day before the end of October, members might be interested in joining a Prehistory Society visit to a Portuguese fort site at Doxfod Farm on the 31st October.
AMANDAS PRIMARY SCHOOL EXHIBIT The Amandas Primary School has made a special plea to us to bear in mind the display it is putting on, of follow-up studies following a Conservation Awareness Course at Resthaven.
The display is at Ambassador House, Union Avenue, Salisbury, and by the time this letter reaches you the remaining available dates for viewing will probably be November 1st, 3rd, 5th and 8th from 1400 hours to 1630 hours.
GENERAL On 4th October Col. M. H. Kemp retired from the post of Water Bailiff, Hunyani Poort Dam. The initial development and subsequent well being of the Arboretum at Lake McIlwaine revolved around the support and cooperation and constant care of Col. Kemp. We thank him sincerely for all he has done, and wish him well in his retirement, and we hope to see him at our outings both as a friend and as an Honorary member of this Society.
His successor as Water Bailiff is Mr. F. C. Fouche.
DICK PETHERAM President
TREE SOCIETY OF RHODESIA NEWSLETTER 12 DECEMBER 1976
Mr. Muller’s Gordon’s later afternoon “clinic” at the Botanic Garden on the 8th November dealt with, no less than 12 species of Albizia –an eye opened for those of us who vaguely imagined, notwithstanding Mr. Drummond’s check list, that a nodding acquaintance with about five species would get us around most of the country.
The Eyre’s Pass visit on 21st November was a great occasion, marred only by the news of the sudden illness of Mr. G. G. Moore, Chairman of the Ayshire Branch. He had, I know, been looking forward tremendously to the “get together” of Ayrshire and Salisbury members. I am glad to be able to report that Mr. Moore’s condition is now greatly improved.
The venue, Kilmacduagh, the Eyre’s pioneer farm, attracted a bumper attendance of 69 members and guests. This number included no less than 21 of our Ayrshire friends, a magnificent turn out from the district, which equaled that of the March 1974 when we visited Lone Cow Farm near Banket as guests of the Ayrshire Branch.
We were glad to have with us as well, several members of the Pre-History Society who took the opportunity of paying a quick visit to an archaeological site which the rest of us could not fit into the programme.
The Great Dyke is always fascinating, and more particularly so when the company includes people who can provide a background of geological and historical interest, and attach to almost every feature a thread of reminiscence and anecdote. We were fortunate in having, in that role, Mr. Dix Airey and Mr. Newby Tatham who jointly planned the expedition. Mr. Tatham, Mine Manager of the Sutton Mine not only knows the area intimately, but as the grandson of a Pioneer speaks as authoritatively on Rhodesian history in general, as he does on the Dyke in particular.
We are grateful also to Mr. Trevor Gordon and Mr. Robert Drummond for enlightening us on a remarkable range of vegetation. Mr. Gordon kept the date well ringed on his calendar, as he always does when we are in particular need of his guidance. Mr. Drummond’s duties as Chief Botanist tend to keep him pretty well tied to the National Herbarium, except for occasional field trips of a specialist nature, and we were delighted that he was able to join us and to give us the benefit of his expertise.
For the comfort and welcome shade of the picnic spot below the farm house, we are indebted to Mr. and Mrs. L. Parry.
Mrs. Gill Masterson’s record of identified trees and shrubs, about 95 in all, is being copied to Mr. Moore and to Mr. and Mrs. Parry. It includes a couple of aloe species, and the huge clumps of tree orchids, Ansellia, which caused considerable excitement along the river bank. I asked Mrs. Masterson if she would, in addition, be kind enough to comment on the more unusual aspects of our visit, and she has supplied the following excellent summary:
“The Great Dyke of Rhodesia runs north-south with a slight inclination to the east, from the Zambezi Escarpment in the Sipolilo/Centenary districts, down to the West Nicholson area. It is 317 miles long, almost straight, and is a world phenomenon shown to all visiting geologists.
The Dyke is not regarded as a true Dyke with vertical walls, but as occupying a rift like depression, alternatively it is described as an intrusion into the surrounding granite.
The Dyke is cut by various rivers, such as the Hunyani River, slowing west. The country on the east side of the Dyke is about 500 ft higher than that to the west. It averages 4 miles in width and has a good rainfall.
The Dyke is composed principally of olivine and pyroxenite. Olivine, a silicate of magnesium and iron (Mg,Fa)2Si)4) is an essential mineral of igneous rocks. With the action of water, the olivine decomposes into Serpentine and Magnetite. The serpentine contains the valuable chrome seams, varying from +- 1 inch to 30 inches in width, averaging about 5 inches; and the iron released in the process of decomposition forms crystals of magnetite – iron black in colour. The chrome in its impure state is an oxide of iron and chromium FeO.Cr2)3.
The soils derived from the serpentine are highly toxic to vegetation, certain grasses predominating; trees and bushes conspicuous by their absence; those occurring often dwarfed. These soils, however, carry some unique vegetation occurring nowhere else in the world of which the magnificent Aloe ortholopha is one example, and Ozoroa longepetiolata, a tree, another.
The pyroxenite soils carry a savanna woodland similar to that of the surrounding granite soils, e.g. Julbernardia blobiflora, Brachystegia spiciformis, both entirely absent from the serpentine. (H. Wild in “Kirkia” Vol. 5 Part 1.). The Pyroxenite soils also mineralized, over which we roamed on Sunday at Eyre’s Pass, did however carry the Ozoroa longipetiolata, small trees very like the common Ozoroa reticulata, but with a much brighter green leaf colour and notably longer petiole, leaf stalk. We also found one small tree which could have been a hybrid between the two.
On the pyroxenite, the commonly found only on highly mineralized soils, and only occurring in the north of Rhodesia was Olax obtusifolia, an erect bush tree about 6-8 feet, with rich green, but not shiny ovate-elliptic alternate leaves, grey brow stems and tiny pale yellow flowers in clusters.
Other plants on and around the kopje at Eyre’s Pass which we do not generally see, were Euphorbia griseola, Mundulea sericea, with Kirkia acuminata, Sanseviera conspicua in flower bud, and no less than four different Commiphoras, C. marlothii, C. , C. africana and C.mossambicensis, all with very thin “skins” which when scratched, show a grass green under bark.
Beside the stream, the Mukwadzi river, the following were seen: the palm tree Phoenix reclinata, Salix subserrata, the indigenous willow, Rapanea melanophloeos, Apodytes dimidiata in green fruit with a little tail like appendage, and Myrica serrata, big bushy trees with serrated leaves, growing with Combretum erythrophyllum, the river Combretum.
We also saw a small, rounded bush, only about eight inches high, with many cherry red flowers, and this we believe was Indigofera hilaris, which also occurs between Inyanga and Melsetter.
Euclea linearis was also seen. This plant characteristically appears on highly mineralized soils.”
MATABELELAND BRANCH The Annual General Meeting of the Branch took place on 26th November. Information concerning the meeting will be embodied in future newsletters.
There will be a visit to the Glenville area on Sunday 19th December. Members are asked to meet at 0830 hours at the corner Main Street and Fourth Avenue.
From the Committee and from me – best wishes to all for Christmas and the New Year
DICK PETHERAM President