The following is a summary of the news, events and happenings of the Tree Society of Rhodesia from the records we have available for 1977


Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter 1 January 1977

 Dear Member,

The Minutes of the last AGM will take up the major part of this dispatch so I shall spend no more time on an introduction than is necessary to record, and to invite your attention to:

The extremely interesting travelogue delivered by Mr. Malcolm Leppard, Assistant Curator of the National Botanic Garden, on the evening of the 9th December.

A few members of the Learner Group, the Saplings, those whom I was able to contact at very short notice, spent an enjoyable couple of hours at Cleveland Dam on the afternoon of Saturday 4th December.

Friday February 18th: Annual General Meeting at the QVM Auditorium at 2000 hours to be followed by a slide show by Mr. Trevor Gordon.

Any nominations or resolutions for the meeting?  Please let us know in good time, in so far as proposed amendments to the constitution are concerned, these, in accordance with Sect. 10 of the Constitution, should be submitted to the Secretary “in writing duly seconded by another member — not less than 21 days before the Annual General Meeting”.


The following newsletter has been received from Bulawayo:  “The annual general meeting on the 26th November was a very pleasant occasion.  The 1976 committee was re-elected for 1977 and Mrs. M. E. Baxendale was voted in as an additional member. Miss Janet Webber was re-elected as chairman, or should it be chair person?  We saw two interesting films, one of which was out of the ordinary, being on four ways of painting a tree.

Members should please note that because of a clash with the Horticultural Society we have decided to shift our meetings to the FIRST Sunday in the Month.

There will be no meeting in January.  Our first outing is on Sunday 6th February 1977.  We shall study trees in Suburbs Kumalo and the green belt between them.  We meet at 0830 hours on the corner of Selborne Avenue and Townsend Road.”

Renewed good wishes for 1977,

Yours sincerely,



The following amendments to the Constitution, proposed by Mr. R. W. Petheram and seconded by Mr. G. Hall were adopted, without dissent, after discussion :

Section 4 (a) to read       “Honorary Members and Honorary Life Members who by reason of their outstanding contribution to the Objects of the Society are elected at an Annual General Meeting of the Society”

Section 4 (b) to read       “Life Members (other than Honorary Life Members) who were registered as such at the 31st December 1975 “

Section 4 under the        “Any member whose subscription is in arrears for more than three months shall cease to be a member”

Section 5 to read              “Family Membership $4 per annum

Ordinary Membership $3 per annum

Student Membership $1 per annum

“Annual subscriptions shall become due on the first day of January and shall be paid to the Honorary Treasurer of the Society; provided however, that new members joining the Society after the 31st July in any year shall be permitted to pay half the Annual Subscription to secure membership for the rest of that year”

Section 6 to be   “The Chairman of the Committee, alternate the Vice Chairman” Amended by the

Deletion of the Words: And their replacement  “The President, alternate the Vice President”

The meeting took note of a suggestion by Mr. Ascough that it might be wise to build up funds for Project expenses through the medium of a larger increase in subscription.  It was decided however, to limit the increase to $1 for the time being and to examine the need for a further increase, if it seemed necessary, next year.

Tribute was paid to the Henderson Research Station (and Mr. P. Richards in particular) for the considerable  work done, and labour and materials supplied, on the Binga project, without cost to the Society; and to Mr. T. Muller for help with labour on the same project.

Note was also taken of a suggestion by Mr. Reid, to the effect that to avoid periodic amendments to the “subscriptions” clause in the Constitution, the Constitution should be changed to permit the AGM each year to decide on the rate of subscription for that year.  There was general support for the idea that this should be formally proposed as a resolution for discussion at the next AGM.

It was explained that the Society’s Trust Fund, made up of the subscriptions of Life Members, brought in $37 a year.  There were 20 Life Members, so the annual investment income averaged $1.85 per member.  This was perfectly adequate while the annual (Ordinary Member) sub. was $2, and in fact, donations from some Life Members gave an additional boost to the Society’s resources.  With the increase in Ordinary Member subs to $3 p.a. it was prudent to pause and consider the fact that rapidly rising costs would make it difficult to ensure an adequate investment income from future Life Membership subscriptions, unless those subs. Were also increased, and increased quite substantially.  Without, in any way under emphasizing the Society’s very genuine regard for its present Life Members and it appreciation for their staunch support, it might be wise to close the lists of Life Members, at least for the present.  This proposal was accepted by the meeting, and is reflected in the amendments to Sections 4 (b) and 5.

The third amendment to Section 4, whereby the period of grace for the payment of subscriptions is reduced from 12 months to 3 months, arose largely from the fact that advance commitments for a payment of the bulk subscription for “Science News” could cause some financial embarrassment.  The Society was clearly at a disadvantage if, for a year it supplied Science News to a defaulting member who then decided to withdraw rather than to pay arrear subscriptions.

The amendment was agreed to, on the understanding that the issue would continue to be handled with caution and discretion.  Mrs. McBean expressed the view, with the obvious support of all members present, that every effort should be made to ensure that a member’s oversight in the matter of subscription payments should be brought to attention, on a personal basis, as tactfully as possible.  Mrs. Irvine gave the meeting an insight into the considerable time and attention devoted by past Committees to this vexed question, and assured the meeting that without doubt the new Committee would also wish to avoid precipitate action.


The President reported that at a meeting recently convened by the Wild Life Society and addressed by Councillor N. Henry and Mr. Ronnie James, the representatives of various Societies had been invited to express their views on how best to ensure an intensification of the campaign to save the Makabusi Woodlands as an open green belt.  Mrs. Reid and Mr. Ascough had most ably represented the Tree Society.  It had been decided that interested Societies would nominate representatives to serve on a central planning committee.

Mr. Ellert reminded members that Mr. Drummond’s new Tree List had been published.

Mr. Petheram paid tribute to Mr. Airey for the way he had conducted the affairs of the Society of the past year and for his flair for attracting new members.

After the tea break Mr. Petheram gave a talk on “Trees – and a little History”. Mr. Airey thanked Mr. Petheram on behalf of all present and the meeting ended at 2200 hours.


Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter 2 February 1977

 Dear Member,

Our Annual General Meeting will take place on Friday 18th February in the Queen Victoria Museum Auditorium at 2000 hours.

The year’s programme began on an excellent talk by Mr. Tom Muller in the course of a late afternoon visit to the Botanic Garden on 4th January.  As always the combination of shrewd observation and light hearted asides had Tom’s audience charmed and enthralled.  We are greatly indebted to him for the time he devotes and the enthusiasm he brings to these gatherings.

Mr. Muller has promised us a return to the COMBRETACEAE soon, but has agreed to tackle the genus Commiphora on our next visit – before these trees begin to lose their leaves.

On 16th January we visited Miss Barbara Tredgold’s property Chizororo.  This was an exceptionally pleasant outing, and all the more memorable by the graciousness of, and the warmth of our reception by Miss Tredgold and Miss Lister.

Competing with the stately Brachystegia glaucescens of the outcrops and the Schotia brachypetala of the termite mounds were some fine Albizia amara and Commiphora, both C. africana and C. mollis.  In flower were Peltophorum, Grewia spp., Pterocarpus rotundifolius and Croton gratissimusXimenia caffra and X. americana were in fruit.  So was Vitex payos and here and there; and the pods of two Elephantorrhiza were so dissimilar that they are being retained by Mrs. Masterson for identification at the Herbarium.

There was an impressive number of Ochna pulchra and Monotes glaber and also a notable number of Mundulea sericea.  In all we noted something of the order of 90 species including also Diplorhynchus, Securidaca, Terminalia sericea; several species of Grewia,, Combretum and Euclea, Lannea, Ekebergia, Vangueria and Vangueriopsis, Ziziphus and Tarenna.  Along the riverine stretch were the indigenous willow, Salix subserrata, Syzygium cordatum and the dwarf Syzygium, S. huillense.  The latter occurred higher up also, as did the dwarf Parinari, P. capensis, together with its bigger brother P. curatellifolia, rather stunted in this particular case, but adding yet greater variety to an area full of interest.

Welcome visitors to Salisbury from Bulawayo in the second week of January were Miss J. Webber and Miss J. David.  Their stay was all too short.  We would have been delighted to have had them with us at Chizororo.  However, they packed quite a formidable amount of sightseeing into three days, and at the Committee meeting on 11th January we were privileged to have Miss Webber as our guest, in her capacity as Chairman of the Matabeleland Branch.

It is my sad duty to record the recent death of Lord Forester that greatly admired and distinguished Rhodesian who was the inaugural Chairman of the Ayshire Branch of the Society, and held the position from December 1973 to December 1975. Our condolences have been conveyed to Lady Forester and her family.

MATABELELAND BRANCH: Mr. Alec Dry writes “A reminder of our February 6th meeting starting at 0830 on the corner of Selborne and Townsend Avenue, we shall look at trees in the green belt and some very interesting suburban streets lined with exotics like Ceiba pentandra or surprises like Olea and Schotia.  Our March outing takes place on Sunday 6th March.  Meet at the City Hall car park at 0830 hours for a visit to the McKinney Farm on the Salisbury road.”

THE LEARNER GROUP:  Due partly to several periods of absence from Salisbury and party to the modest performance of Government’s Petrol coupon printing machine, there have been few opportunities of arranging meetings of the ‘saplings’.  On the few occasions when free Saturdays and coupon availability seemed likely to coincide, the last minute scramble to spread the news by phone were only partially successful.

What we might try every alternate month, I suggest, is a definite ‘date’ on the Saturday or the weekend preceding that of the customary monthly outing.  This will mean the second Saturday of each alternate month, except in May when the second Saturday immediately precedes the third Sunday, which makes life awfully complicated and makes one yearn for greater expertise in legal phraseology.

As we seem to have a fairly full programme in February, with the AGM supplementing other activities, let us begin on the 12th March at 1400 hours at the Makabusi Woodlands.  The precise venue will be given next month.

Mrs. Gill Masterson has kindly agreed to continue to lead the expeditions whenever her many commitments allow her to do so, and on this particular occasion we hope to have the additional benefit of the guidance of Mr. and Mrs. J. Reid.

I wish to emphasize that we shall study only a few trees at a time.  There is no intention of identifying, or trying to identify everything in sight.  Moreover, we might well have ‘repeat’ visits to some areas, to study the same trees in different seasons.

No proposals have been received for constitution amendments at the AGM and the Committee has no intention of recommending any change in the rate of subscriptions.

Yours sincerely,



Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter 3 March 1977

Dear Member,

The Annual Report for 1976 will accompany this letter.  I hope it will be interest to those who could not attend the AGM in Salisbury on the 18th February.

The meeting was followed by an outstanding talk and slide show given by Mr. Trevor Gordon.  Trees there were, both strange and striking, but they were only incidental to an absorbingly interesting travelogue on Cyprus, South West Africa and parts of England.  A show of contrasts, as fascinating as it was unusual.

Office bearers for 1977 are:

President                            Mr. R.W. Petheram

Vice President                   Mrs. L. Irvine

Hon. Treasurer                  Mrs. B. E. Tunney

Hon. Secretary                  Mme. M. Bois

Committee members    Mrs. S. M. Duncanson, Mrs. G. M. Masterson, Mr. A. F. W. Pearce, Mr. N. M. Airey,                                            Mr. G. R. Hall

Mrs. Batten, Hon. Secretary for the past three years, elected to stand down.  She has our thanks and good wishes.

The venue for the February outing, on the morning of the 20th was the National Herbarium and Botanic Garden.

Mr. R. B. Drummond, Keeper of the National Herbarium, had prepared for us, in the Herbarium, a display of drawings and pressed specimens of plant species belonging to the family RUBIACEAE.  After encouraging us to examine them he described some of the characteristics of the genera and of the tribes (group within the sub-families) to which they belonged; then led us on a tour of the Botanic Garden to see some of the species in growth.

It was a most instructive and enjoyable morning, and we are grateful to Mr. Drummond for the thought, the time and the care which went into the display, and for his guidance and companionship in the walk through the garden.


Office bearers for 1977:

Chairman                             Miss J. Webber

Hon. Secretary                  Mr. A. G. Dry

Committee                         Mrs. O. R. Baxendale, Mrs. W. Bullock, Mrs. D. Webb

The following note has been received from Mr. Dry: “The outing on 6th March takes us some 30 miles out of town on the Salisbury road, to Mr. and Mrs. McKinney’s farm.  The area is interesting especially with large numbers of Dalbergia, Croton, Clerodendron and Steganotaenia trees.  We meet at 0830 hours at the Municipal Car Park.

Our last meeting, in the suburbs of Bulawayo, was a very successful one despite the rain.  Someone in the municipality should be congratulated on the far sighted policy of planting whole streets of indigenous trees in Kumalo.


9th May, 1952.   “. . . . . I shall be pleased to become a Patron of The Tree Society of Southern Rhodesia.  As it is a good cause I enclose my cheque for £5 for life membership.  I shall have to live to 90 to make a profit on the annual subscription of 5/- .. . .  Yours , G. M. Huggins”

(Lord Malvern died in 1971, just before his 88th birthday)



The Rhodesia National Tourist Board is launching a “Flora Week” at the Falls, from April 12th to April 18th.  The programme includes two four hour conducted tours of the Rain Forest and surrounding countryside.  Lectures on flower arrangements, with emphasis on indigenous plants, will be given by Mrs. Mary Rich and Mrs. Betty Ann Gael.  Garden, and other, Clubs are being invited to participate thereafter in a flower arrangement competition, for which there will be prizes.

In discussion with Mr. Armstrong of the Tourist Board I have been informed that if a reasonable number of Tree Society members and others, expressed a wish for an additional conducted tour to study vegetation, rather than take part in the flower arranging session, there should be no difficulty in arranging this.

I understand the cost to be $72 for groups of 10 and over; or $69 for 20 and over, from Salisbury.  $15 less, from Bulawayo.  This includes airfare, and bed and breakfast at one of four hotels.  Further details are available from, and bookings can be made through, Mr. P. Armstrong, Rhodesia National Tourist Board, P.O. Box 8052, Causeway, Salisbury.

PREHISTORY SOCIETY  The Pre-History Society intends to visit Bushman’s Point, Lake McILwaine, on Sunday 27th March and might have spare seats on the bus.  Tree Society members would be welcome to join the day’s expedition.  Phone Mrs. Peggy Izzett 83419.

I thank members for the encouragement, implicit in their re-electing last year’s committee for another year.  We will do our best.

Yours sincerely,




It has been a pleasure to have been so closely involved in the affairs of the Society in the past year, and I am grateful for the ready co-operation and support of every member of the Committee.  This has been no over-amenable ‘yes man’ team.  They are experienced members of the Society; two are Past Presidents; all have the interests of the Society very much at heart and never hesitate to express a view.  For me, therefore, it has been an enjoyable and stimulating experience.

For the past three years the duties of Honorary Secretary have been carried out by Mrs. Marjorie Batten.  A year ago, Mrs. Batten expressed a wish to retire, but was persuaded to carry on.  She has repeated her wish to withdraw this year, and we must respect that renewed appeal.  Mrs. Batten has earned our sincere thanks, and I take the opportunity, in this report of recording my personal appreciation of all she has done.


Membership response to the programme of monthly outings has been good.  All of us on the Committee are grateful to members for making our efforts in that direction seem worthwhile.

The week day visits to the Botanic Garden have been well attended by the hardcore of enthusiasts who realize how much an hour or so of Mr. Muller’s tuition helps one in subsequent wanderings in the bush.  I should like to assure newer members who might be hesitant about attending, for fear of too technical a standard of discussion, that these are delightfully informal meetings with Mr. Muller, which they would thoroughly enjoy.

An afternoon at Greenwood Park attracted a large number of members and non members.  Mr. Airey having persuaded “The Carpenter” to “splash” the event in the Rhodesia Herald.

Following the visit to the P.E. School Arboretum conducted by Mrs. Irvine shortly before the last AGM we spent another hour or two there, later in the year, when Mrs. Maasdorp arranged for members of her Natural History Club to tell us about the Arboretum trees and about some of their observations on the bird and insect life associated with the trees.

The Makabusi Woodland walkers, inspired by the unwavering enthusiasm of Mr. and Mrs. Reid and Mrs. Batten, have continued their weekly walks in that area.

The few outings of the “Saplings” – the learner group, have been enjoyable. Last minute attempts to arrange such outings have not been wholly successful though, and, regrettably, some members have missed out.  We hope to hold Sapling meetings on a more regular, programmed basis in the future, instead of leaving it to chance and to the vicissitudes of communication from a telephone in my house which only works when it is in the mood for it.

Two very interesting evening lectures with colour slide illustrations have been given in this hall, the first by Mr. Stephen Mavi and the second by Mr. Malcolm Leppard.

A few of our members joined the Aloe Society on a very successful bus tour of the Midlands, and some of the enterprising expeditions of the Pre History Society also attracted our members.  We have been glad to have Pre-History Society members on one or two of our outings as well.

The expeditions of the Matabeleland Branch of the Society shown in the Newsletter each month were of considerable interest, and I hope that members visiting Bulawayo from other parts of the country will bear the Matabeleland activities in mind.

We recently had the pleasure of welcoming on a visit to Salisbury, Miss Webber, Chairman of the Matabeleland Branch, and also Miss David from Bulawayo.  Mr. Hall attended the AGM of the Matabeleland Branch on behalf of our Committee, and my wife and I, during an earlier visit to Bulawayo, were most hospitably entertained by Miss Webber and her Committee members.  We were also fortunate enough to be able to spend a memorable day in the Zoutzpansberg with the Tree Society of Southern Africa.

One of the highlights of the year was the wonderful turn-out of Ayrshire Branch members who joined us for the November visit to Eyre’s Pass on the Great Dyke.  The Ayrshire Branch has unfortunately suffered tragic losses and setbacks in the past year or two, the most recent of which have been the death of Lord Forester, inaugural Chairman of the Branch, and the very serious illness of the current Chairman, Mr. Geoffrey Moore.

We are indebted to all the authorities and landowners concerned, for allowing us free range over the properties we visited.

The Committee has had tentative discussions on the possibility of arranging weekend or holiday visits to areas a little further afield than usual.  Some areas would welcome support, and Inyanga – still as lovely as ever, I may say – is one that we have talked about.  However the difficulty there may be to gain access to the remnant forests in which our principal interest would lie.

Information has just been received from the Tourist Board, concerning an interesting Group Tour to the Victoria Falls in April.  This can be discussed under the last item on the Agenda, and will be referred to in the March Newsletter.

On the general subject of travel, I have no wish whatsoever to adopt an alarmist attitude and I trust that we will continue our perambulations around the countryside without pause.  But we must acknowledge the face that there are a few hazards about.  It might be advisable, I do not yet know, because exploratory inquiries have not reached a stage at which I can report constructively to the Committee, it might be necessary to ask members to sign some form of indemnity, absolving the Society and its officers, from liability in the event of mishap.  I am sure that members will be understanding and co-operate on this.


Binga Swamp Forest, Arcturus  The task of reclaiming the Binga Swamp Forest from the enveloping clutches of Mauritius Thorn and the depredations of cattle, continues.  Members who visited the forest in October will, I believe, have seen some evidence of progress, and I wish to record the Society’s continued indebtedness to the Weed Research Unit of Henderson Research Station and to Mr. Paul Richards in particular for invaluable assistance in the battle against the thorn.

Much remains to be done, and the Natural Resources Board, in consultation with Conex, and in collaboration with the Arcturus Rural Council, is negotiating with the landowner in the hope of bringing about modifications in land use there.

We are fortunate in having Mr. S. Carey available to represent the Society in Arcturus.

Lake McIlwaine Arboretum  I am sorry to say that we have seen very little of the Lake McIlwaine Arboretum in the past two or three years.  After the tremendous amount of planning, surveying, mapping, clearing, road making, landscaping and planting, which the Committees of the late 1950’s and 1960’s and even the early 1970’s put into the Arboretum, it is sad that we are able to visit it so seldom.  If there are any members living in the vicinity who could spare the time to involve themselves in some clearing and thinning operations and perhaps a minimal amount of planting, it would be a great boon, for it is a lovely area, and one of which the older members of the Society are justifiably proud.

Until recently, Col. Kemp who played a prominent part in the early operations, remained  on the spot as Water Bailiff and had our interests very much at heart.  He has now retired.  We are most grateful to him for his friendship and support over the years, and are proud to number him among those few people to whom honorary membership of the Society has been extended in recognition of outstanding service.

It will be for the incoming Committee to make the acquaintance of Col. Kemp’s successor and to seek continued co-operation.

Following a recent meeting with the Committee of the Ornithological Society at the instigation of that Society, there is an encouraging prospect of some joint planning for the greater care and utilization of the area.

Makabusi Woodland Representations were made to the Conservation Trust of Rhodesia by a group of Societies affiliated to that Trust, for assistance in ensuring the preservation of the Makabusi Woodland and establishing some sort of centre there.

Initially, there was a series of long meetings and preparation of memoranda, all aimed at putting on the map a variety of projects worthy of consideration by the Trust, and at sorting out the priorities.  Subsequently it was necessary to iron out a plan of operations suitable for the Makabusi Woodland.

I hesitate to single out any particular member of Committee for special mention when each and every one of them has contributed so much; but in the context of Conservation Trust negotiations I must record that the burden of Tree Society interests in some vigorous debating and a lot of paper work has been carried by Mr. George Hall who, somehow or other, has managed to attend to it between the demands of his job and frequent military call up.  We owe him a special thanks.

Mr. Hall assures me that Mr. Rud Boulton has been the driving force behind the working party of Affiliated Societies.  Our thanks go to Mr. Boulton also.

The National Trust has now approved a grant of $5 000 for the establishment of a Makabusi Woodland Conservation Centre, subject to two conditions:

  1. That a satisfactory lease be negotiated with the City Council
  2. That thereafter the Trust will withdraw and assign its rights and obligations in terms of the lease, to a properly constituted Management Committee

Obviously there is a lot more to be arranged, but the project appears to be on its way.

National Trust Properties  The Tree Society has been approached by the National Trust of Rhodesia to co-operate with the Trust and with other Societies in plans concerning the Balancing Rocks area of Epworth Mission, and the area called “Mabukuwene” on the outskirts of Bulawayo.

The Matabeleland Branch is represented on a Mabukuwene Planning Committee under the Chairmanship of Mr. C. Bullock.  As regards the Balancing Rocks area, we have asked Mr. Colin Williams to represent the Society on the Project Committee when he returns from South Africa, but in the meantime it has become apparent, from a meeting attended by Mrs. Irvine, that there will have to be more study of the project before we can decide to the extent to which we should involve ourselves.

Avondale Parkland   At Avondale, a tireless and determined Mrs. Catherine Curry has moved heaven and earth to get the Avondale Parkland scheme “off the ground”.  While it is  not a formally adopted Tree Society project, some of our members are helping in their personal capacities, and I should like to extend to Mrs. Curry our congratulations and good wishes.

Trees of Historical Interest:   Sporadic correspondence on historical trees continues.  There simply has not been the time to pursue this matter with the same intensity as it was pursued in 1975, but the record is being compiled; a slightly attenuated version of last year’s talk on the subject has appeared in Science News, and talks have been given to members in Bulawayo and to the Prince Edward School Natural History Club.

Arising from this research, the National Museums and Monuments Commission has agreed to erect plaques at Filabusi and Goromonzi.  The Filabusi plaque will be on an old Combretum imberbe which was used as a staging post during the days of the Zeederburg Coach Service, and at Goromonzi the Golden Cypress close to the D/C.’s quarters will bear a plaque commemorating the fact that the tree was planted by Major Randolph Nesbitt, VC.

Other matters of Interest:    There has been fairly protracted correspondence with the City of Salisbury on the urgent need to establish Eucalypt woodlots for the supply of firewood to African Townships.  The demand is there, and, whatever the future may hold, it is unlikely that every urban family will convert to miraculously to electricity or some other pipe supply of fuel, overnight.  It is important, moreover, to relieve the pressure on the ever decreasing clusters of indigenous trees around us.

The Council apparently considers the supply of firewood to be the prerogative of private enterprise.  This may be so.  If it is, then we consider that the Council might actively encourage private enterprise by making available for lease or purchase, for this specific purpose, areas of land on the perimeter of Greater Salisbury.  There must be areas unsuitable for building, but at least moderately suitable for woodlots.  We have suggested that the prices should be intentionally low to attract investment in this field.

The matter is not yet resolved.

During the year the City authorities invited us to submit suggestions regarding indigenous trees suitable for planting in avenues and so on.  This we responded to with pleasure.

We also welcomed the opportunity to make representations to the Commission of Inquiry into Rhodesia’s Hardwood Timber Resources; a Commission set up by Government and headed by P. C. de Villiers, Professor of Forest Management at Stellenbosch University.

Line taken in our fairly lengthy memorandum was that of urging caution in the utilization of our hardwoods; of emphasizing, in fact, the vital difference between planned utilization on the one hand, and imprudent exploitation on the other.  In this, we were repeating in large measure the tenor of warnings which have been expressed from time to time in the Annual Reports of the Rhodesia Forestry Commission.

The memorandum was followed up with oral evidence.

I wish to thank members and certain non-members who responded so helpfully to requests for comment and advice.

Young Scientists’ Exhibition:  In keeping with past practice, a promise has been made to the organizers of the Young Scientists’ Exhibition to support the next exhibition with a small cash prize for the best exhibit on indigenous trees.

Subscriptions and the Constitution:  This time last year Mr. Jack Reid suggested that we should bear in mind the advisability of amending the Constitution by deleting the fixed rates quoted therein, and by so re-wording the clause as to enable the members at Annual General Meetings to fix the rates of subscription for the following year.

There is no mention of this in tonight’s agenda but that is not out of disregard for the merit of the suggestion.  The matter has been fully discussed with Mr. Reid.  The outgoing Committee has no intention of recommending any change in subscription at the moment, and at this stage is hesitant to predict any need for change next year.  Forecasts are so difficult these days that some Societies, our South African counterpart and the Aloe Society amongst them, have given their executive committees discretion to decide on subscription rates from time to time, without reference to members in general meeting.  Perhaps we will be obliged to consider something of that sort, but I do not think we should rush into it.

An alternative would be to call a Special General Meeting in November or December if the Committee felt it necessary to recommend a change in subscription rates with effect from the following January.  This could be done in terms of the Constitution.

In saying that the Committee is satisfied that subscriptions are adequate at least for 1977, I do not mean to imply that subscription income on its own exceeded expenditure in 1976.  It did not.  But total income did, quite comfortably, aided by a little friendly extortion in bus fares.  In other words, subscription revenue together with profit on bus hire, covered expenses.  If this sounds a slightly precarious situation let me assure you that 1976 was, as we know it would be, an exceptionally heavy expenditure year, and that various items of printing and stationery should not have to be repeated or replenished for a year or two.

Before leaving the subject of finance, which, of course, is on the agenda for further discussion if need be, it is a pleasure to record on behalf of the Society, our thanks to Mr. Alan Pearce for conducting the audit of the accounts, and for agreeing to become one of our Trustees.

Our thanks are due also to our other Trustees, Mr. Warwick A. Bailey and Mr. G. G. Jameson.  Mr. and Mrs. Bailey hoped to attend this meeting, but unfortunately other urgent demands have intervened.

Membership:  In these unsettled days, it is a relief to be able to report that although there were 28 resignations registered in 1976, there were 37 new subscribers.

May I say to those concerned, that new members have never been more welcome, and that we wish them all, great satisfaction and happiness in our shared love of trees.  Total membership borders on 300.

National Botanic Garden and Herbarium:  The impressive development of the Botanic Garden and the superb services available to all at the Herbarium, deserve our gratitude and our congratulations, and I would like to suggest that the incoming Committee convey a message to that effect, from this meeting, to the proper quarter.

At the same time, I wish to pay tribute to Mr. Muller and Mr. Drummond and every member of staff for their interest in our activities.  I hope they realize how greatly we appreciate their generous help.

May I wish all of you a rewarding Tree Society year.




Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter 4 April 1977

 Dear Member,

At the Botanic Garden on the afternoon of Tuesday 1st March, Mr. Muller gave us a most informative talk on the family COMBRETACEAE.  The April talk will be on the genus Ficus.

There was an excellent turn out of Saplings and other members at the Makabusi Woodland on Saturday 12th March.  With their usual care and detail Mr. and Mrs. Reid had previously located, within easy reach of the gate, a variety of trees from which Mrs. Masterson could select a small representative group for the purpose of her talk.  The species chosen were Strychnos spinosa, Ficus capensis, Ochna pulchra, Psorospermum febrifugum, Julbernardia globiflora, Peltophorum africanum, Ekebergia benguelensis, Swartzia madagascariensis and Brachystegia spiciformis.

 On Sunday 20th March we journeyed first to the Lake McIlwaine spillway –a splendid sight at the moment, and spent the rest of the day at Atlantic Ecological Research Station.  Brilliant planning on the part of the writer, to ensure that we avoided the hazards of travel over flooded roads by bus, resulted in our spending three hours in the morning, and another twenty minutes in the afternoon, digging ourselves out.  Had we kept to the original plan of exploring the shoreline of the Lake we might have been on firmer ground.

However, everyone took the little adventure in good part, including our host, Mr. Rudyard Boulton, who after some understandable initial dismay, played a major part in the rescue operations, and accepted with admirable equanimity the mammoth excavations that marred the surface, and the beauty, of his driveway.

To Mr. Boulton, and to our charming hostess Sister Anne Gifford, our sincere thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable day.

In the limited time available to us, Mr. Boulton only touched on the fringe of the research work conducted at Atlantica, in a tea time talk, and then invited us to roam at will over the station.  The area was of particular interest because of the impressive regeneration of the flora during a 16 year period of protection.  Prior to the establishment of the Research Station, the area had suffered grave abuse.  The dramatic improvement was well illustrated in two aerial photographs.

Judging by the map, a wide range of soil variation occurs in the northern sector of the Station.  Unfortunately, owing to wet conditions, we were able to explore very little of that sector, but there was ample to keep us happily occupied on the high ground, surrounding the study centre.

With the adjoining farm Saffron Walden so close at hand, and with Mr. Hinde’s prior permission to “spill over” into it if we so wished, Mr. and Mrs. Irvine led part of the group in the afternoon to a beautiful kopje on Saffron Waldon and rejoined the rest of the party just before our return to town.


The Hon. Secretary of the Matabeleland Branch writes:  “The March outing to Maldon Farm, was a most successful one and we owe our thanks to Mr. and Mrs. McKinney for their hospitality and helpfulness.  We are pleased that in return we could solve a few of their problems in identifying some of their trees.  We found over 80 varieties there.

On Sunday 3rd April we meet once again at the Hillside Dams, this time on the Eastern side of the Lower Dam, that is, the side across the water from the tea kiosk.  Enter the grounds from Moffat Avenue.

The meeting will take the form of a quiz, by popular request) and we shall have the usual informal lectures on selected trees”.

The Report for 1976, of the Chairman of the Matabeleland Branch, is enclosed with this newsletter.

Yours sincerely,




We felt a little apprehensive about 1976 I think, the previous year had been an excellent year of activity but it ended on a rather austere note for human and political reasons; nevertheless, I have pleasure in reporting that 1975 has been a good one for the branch, and this is largely due to the endeavours and keenness of the people in the Branch.  I should like to express thanks to our Secretary Mr. A. Dry for his enthusiasm and general management of the business of the Society.  He has arranged for notices of branch meetings to appear in the Tree Society Newsletter, which saves postage and incidentally gives us more publicity.

During the year the membership has increased to approximately 38 members.  We have arranged 10 field meetings and 2 evening meetings.  In April we were visited by the President and Mrs. Petheram and were given a very interesting talk by Mr. Petheram on the historical connections of Rhodesian trees.  One of the Society’s objectives is to further education and I consider this has been achieved in many ways; by talks given to schools and to other societies, and a mini lectures in the field.  These have been informative and interesting.

Lists of trees from each outing are kept in the Society’s files and a courtesy copy has been given to the Divisional Manager of the Forestry Commission from whom we have received a great deal of help in identifying specimens.  One piece of headline news was written up in the May issue of the Rhodesia Science News describing the finding of Erythrophysa transvaalensis by the Branch at Khamers Nature Reserve.

Copies of the new field card may be bought from the Secretary and comments on its value for use in Matabeleland would be appreciated, for it is only in using it that one can assess it properly.

The President of the society has submitted to the Commission a report on the excessive use of hardwoods in Rhodesia, and has offered to attend some future meeting of the Commission, if necessary.

Two matters which were described as being in progress in the Chairman’s report for last year have been finalizing, namely the numbering of the trees in Steadfast Park, Matopos for the Boys’ Brigade; also providing Publicity Association with a copy of Mrs. Bullock’s account of historic trees of the Bulawayo area.

The Branch was represented at a meeting to discuss the future of Mabukwena, the Meikles’ property in Burnside, and may be called upon to label the trees there.

For all the support and interest which has been evident during my year of office, I heartily thank everyone, committee and members.



Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter 5 May 1977

Dear Member,

Sunday 17th April was spent in delightful granite kopje country at Strafford, a few kilometers from Marandellas. The loveliness of the setting was surpassed only by the charm of our hostess, Mrs. Sue Vandoros, who joined us on the beautifully shaded and terraced lawn, sweeping down to the house and swimming pool.

From a look out on one of the kopjes Mount Wedza stood out clearly, and in the afternoon we paused there for a while to view the two well defined peaks, Romorehoto- the Hornbill beak and Dangamvuri, the kraal in the shade.

Vegetation was plentiful and varied; indeed, within the protection of giant boulders on the kopjes above the homestead, it was positively riotous.  Our interest was heightened by the number of Inyanga type shrubs and trees which are seldom encountered on our expeditions around Salisbury, and even more seldom found in such impressive array.  Many of the more familiar Mashonaland trees were flourishing, but there was a marked preponderance of species which revel in conditions of height or moisture or both.

There were hilarious moments. Unfamiliar species and puzzling contrasts in appearance between young plants and old, led to considerable surmise and conjecture throughout the day.  Small groups of people became temporarily separated from each other in the course of climbing, and from one such group, in earnest contemplation of a tree, the following delightful exchange was overheard – “Now what on earth is that? A. Oh, we’ve seen masses of it.  This afternoon it is Apodytes

Among the many memorable features were a group of dwarf msasas on an exposed north eastern slope; graceful “mountain acacias” overlooking the fiery coppers and reds of unusually large Hymenodictyons; a fine Euphorbia ingens in command of one section of the skyline; Ficus natalensis in dense green glory, sending endless roots question into every crack and cranny in the boulders, and growing in vigorous competition with the equally verdant Erythroxylum emarginatum; miniature forests of pink Dombeya, sparse in flower at the moment but, as always, large in leaf; the glistening green of Diospyros whyteana, thriving wherever we went; Heteromorpha arborescens, the parsnip tree, sporadic at ground level but dominant in patches on the hillside; a lone but lovely Brachylaena rotundata toward the end of our morning walk; constantly recurring Pittosporum viridiflorum, some with a sooty covering to the leaf, others fresh and healthy with one or two in flower; Apodytes dimidiata, time and again when we rounded a boulder and Olinia vanguerioides in bewildering profusion, particularly during the course of the afternoon expedition.  Three species of Maytenus included some magnificent specimens of Maytenus undata, characteristically hugging huge rocks in both the morning and afternoon sessions; the Cussonias put on a special show for us with C. arborea, C. natalensis and C. spicata, all marshaled into one area to display their respective designs of leaf and inflorescences.

We recorded about 75 species in all, with a question mark against one which Mr. Drummond later confirmed as Neorosia andongensis.  There was also a Solanum with clusters of scarlet berries, which Mr. Drummond identified as S. giganteum.

We were happy to meet again a greatly respected Life member of the Society, Mr. G. M. McGregor whose property adjoins that of Mr. and Mrs. Vandoros.  Mac’s short talk to us in the morning was laced with his pungent wit.  We were indeed sorry to learn, though, that Mrs. McGregor was far from well.  Our best wishes for better health go to them both.

Proposed visit to Dichwe Forest :  Trees worthy of note along the route are: Diospyros mespiliformis, Ficus sycomorus, Albizia versicolor, Kigelia africana, Trichilia emetica.  The shrub Byrsocarpus orientalis may be in flower if you are lucky.

Dichwe (swamp) Forest is a “relic” forest of riverine type evergreens, is an area of great interest and a good deal of voluntary study is being devoted to the problem of its preservation.  There is concern over the matter of deterioration, but there are differences of opinion about the causes.

In a paper written some years ago, Mr. Gordon described the area as “mostly swampy as a result of surface water being trapped by large dolomite kopjes” – which is an excellent general description from which to make the point that there is to be seen, a very interesting variety of vegetation on soils both wet and dry, on low-lying ill drained ground and rising ground.  (For access to party of the low lying area, the wearing of gum boots is a good idea if you happen to have any, but your day will not be wasted without them).

As the name “Lemon Forest” implies lemon trees abound.  Their origin has always been an intriguing mystery, attributed variously to Indians, Arabs, Portuguese, animals and birds.  I feel that there must be more than coincidence in the fact that the old “Mazoe” lemon occurs in several places known to have been occupied, as fort or trading centers, by the Portuguese.”

The kopje trees include Sterculias, Commiphoras, Kirkias and a host of others.  We must remember to ask Mr. Gordon to show us, particularly, the Gyrocarpus americanus which we are unlikely to see in our normal expeditions from Salisbury.


Mr. A. Dry has sent the following bulletin:  “The outing on Sunday 3rd April to the Hillside Dam area proved again what a wealth of interesting trees are available to us without leaving the Municipal area.  The next meeting, scheduled for 1st May will be at Mabukuweni (off Chipping Way in Burnside) for an intensive study of the area.  Plans for this area have not yet been finalized and any idea would be welcome.  Meet at Mabukuweni at 0830 hours.

AYRSHIRE BRANCH:  The AGM of the Ayrshire Branch was held at Glen Rosa Cottage, Raffingora on the afternoon of 9th April.  Mr. T. Gordon and the writer were guests at this enjoyable meeting.  It was good to see the remarkable recovery made by Mr. Geoffrey Moore since his grave illness and loss of his leg.  Congratulations to him on his re-election to the chair and best wishes to Mrs. Graves in the post of Hon. Secretary.

Yours faithfully,



Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter 6 June 1977

 Dear Member,

I would appreciate the view of members on the subject of “Plants which need special protection”.

At present the act protects various aloes, the Maidenhair fern, the Mangrove fern and one of the Tree ferns, the Raphia palm, the Borassus palm, the Leopard orchid, the Mopani orchid, the Sabi star, the Lundi star, our only Juniper, Euphorbia wildii, the Mutuputupu tree, Bivinia, the Flame Lily and the Cycad.

I have been asked to give our views by the end of May.  The invitation to do so was received after the dispatch of the May  newsletter, and I am sure that the authorities will give a time extension, as long as information comes in quickly.

In the meantime, a few suggestions have been sent to the Chairman of the Government Committee concerned, to keep the pot boiling.


Dichwe Lemon Forest is a fascinating place at any time.  With Mr. Trevor Gordon in the lead and with the added bonus of Mr. Robert Drummond’s company and expertise, we had a most stimulating day on Sunday 15th May, together with our Ayrshire friends.

Mr. Geoffrey Moore declined to let a trifle like the loss of a leg discourage him from attending the first 1977 outing of his Ayshire Branch, a characteristically fine gesture, appreciated by us all.

Exploration of the forest itself was left until the afternoon.  In the morning, Mr. Gordon conducted us on a gentle climb along a portion of a lime stone kopje endowed with kranzes and caves and covered with an extraordinarily interesting variety of trees.

Of particular note was the startling superficial similarity between the big Albizia tanganyicensis and the Sterculia quinqueloba, both leafless and with peeling bark.  The peeling bark of the former appeared to be light brown and that of the latter rather more silvery.  The fruits, of course, were vastly different, but at first sight, in their leafless state, the similarity in overall appearance was striking.

One of the lobe-leaved Gyrocarpus americanus was in flower, and to many Salisbury based members this was the first time acquaintance with this tree.

Possibly the most beautiful in terms of delicacy of foliage, was the graceful Albizia zimmermannii which, in this area, is at the southernmost limit of its distribution in Rhodesia.

Also infrequently seen on our expeditions from Salisbury were some good specimens of Ficus sansibarica, with the trunks studded with figs on separate fruiting growths.

Ficus ingens was there, massive of trunk and in spread of cover.  Zanha africana, heralding the approach of winter, was showing a little discoloration of leaf.  Commiphora marlothii was displaying its new green bark and Kirkia acuminata flaunted on high its terminal clusters of fruits.  The monkey bread tree, Piliostigma thonningii demonstrated that it, too, could grow in those surroundings.  Strychnos potatorum was plentiful.  Croton gratissimus occurred here and there.

There was a lot of the perennial shrub Acalypha ornata and also a lot of Indogofera lupatana and among the most attractive of the bushy vegetation were Hippocratea parvifolia and Maerua triphylla var. pubescens.

Euphorbia ingens and Euphorbia grissola lent further variety, and there were also patches of Sansevieria conspicua and the more lance like Sansevieria deserti.

In the riverine area in the afternoon, the most notable species included many flourishing “Mazoe lemon” trees, the fruit of which was liberally sampled and fine specimens of Celtis africana, Khaya nyasica, Trichilia emetica, Rauvolfia caffra, Acacia galpinii, Syzygium cordatum and Euclea schimperiMaytenus was there in quantity and so was  Carissa edulis.

Some spectacularly large stems of the climber Phytolacca dodecandra wound themselves around trees within reach, and the creeper Acacia schweinfurthii scrambled over many others.  The “redwing” scrambler Pterolobium stellatum was encountered I many places.

Large stretches of the river were densely packed with reeds, and the flora on the opposite bank included the palm Phoenix reclinata.

We did not cross over into the swampy area, but saw the stark branches of several dead Khaya nyasica trees, a feature around which some of the debate on deterioration of the forest, revolves.

A short distance away from the riverine belt even in areas where there seemed little visible evidence of any change in gradient, contrasting vegetation included Combretum frangrans, Combretum molle, Capparis tomentosa, Antidesma venosum, Peltophorum africanum, Strychnos spinosa, Zeromphia obovata, Diospyros senensis, Grewia pachycalex, Friesodielsia obovata, Terminalia sericea, Lonchocarpus capassa, some small Parinari curatellifolia and Dichrostachys cinerea.

 Pavetta species and Psorospermum febrifugum occurred here and there, and Ekebergia capensis was present in the damper parts.

Ziziphus abyssinica and Diospyros squarrosa were new to many of us, and the Sausage tree, Kigelia africana were laden with fruit.

I have not the slightest doubt that in the few hours available, we missed as much as we saw; but it was vastly interesting and Mr. Gordon, with his intimate knowledge of the forest and the surrounding countryside, made sure that we took in as much of the unusual, the spectacular, the contrasts as was possible in the time at our disposal.

All the arrangements, the planning and the security checking were in his hands.  For a thoroughly enjoyable day we are indebted to him; and we are grateful to Mr. John Brown, the owner of Dichwe Farm, for giving his blessing to our visit.

In the course of the journey from Salisbury, several members had the opportunity of reading an enlightening article on Dichwe, written by Mr. Jeremy Talbot.  It is an excellent summary, indeed, much more than a mere summary, of records and observations on the area, and it contains sections on the landscape, water resources, non-avian wildlife, birdlife and vegetation.  I would suggest that members who are interested should write to the Secretary, Rhodesian Ornithological Society, Box 8382 Causeway to ascertain whether copies of “The Honeyguide” Nos. 88 and 89 are available for sale.  Owing to the military commitments of the people concerned I have not been able to establish this yet.

Also, for those who might be interested, I have several copies of a cyclostyled list of Dichwe trees and shrubs prepared by Mr. Gordon.  This list does not pretend to be fully comprehensive.  It was prepared to assist us in the course of our ‘ramble’ over the area in May, but includes many more species than I have referred to in my summary of our observations.

A transect has recently been laid out through the forest.  The objective is to have a record of the state of the vegetation in 1977, in April, after the rains, from a permanent “plot” so that vegetation change over the years can be monitored.


The National Tourist Board has arranged a tour which seems to be one of particular appeal.  The Luxury Coach leaves Salisbury on Friday, 1st July and returns on the afternoon of Tuesday 5th July.  The itinerary includes visits to Murahwa’s Hill, Umtali; the Umtali Park and Aloe Garden; a look at the flora of the Vumba, including Vumba National Park and the Bunga Forest, La Rochelle, Penhalonga; and possibly Mr. Munch’s aloe collection near Rusape.

There will be overnight accommodation for two nights at the Wise Owl Motel Umtali and two nights also at Mountain Lodge, Vumba. I understand that the tour will be led and guided by Mr. H. M. Biegel, senior Research Technician at the National Herbarium and Mr. Steven Mavi who is so well versed in the use of indigenous plants in herbal medicine.

The cost of the tour, including travelling, dinner bed and breakfast is stated to be $36 per person, payable in advance.

All enquiries should be addressed to “Peter Armstrong Associates, Box 8052, Causeway”. And I suggest that these be made early because this enterprising venture could be attractive to a lot of people.


I have been asked to insert the following notice for your information and that of your friends

“The Annual Show of the Aloe Cactus and Succulent Society will be held at the Garden Club Hall, Salisbury Showground, over the Rhodes and Founders long weekend – 9th – 12 July”.


The Matabeleland bulletin reads : “We are not giving notice two months in advance because newsletters may sometimes arrive after the meetings they announce, because we meet on the first Sunday of the month.  So a reminder about our visit on 5th June to Spring Grange Farm.  Meet at 0830 hours at the Municipal Car Park.  Our meeting on 3rd July takes place once again close to home, in fact in the suburbs of Matsheumhlope.  Meet at the corner of Crouch Road and Essexvale Road at 0830 hours.”

Yours sincerely,



Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter 7 July 1977

 Dear Member,

There was no overwhelming response to last month’s invitation for views on Protected Plants.  There is still time, if anyone is assailed with an irresistible urge to comment.

The visit on 19th May to Liwonde Estate, Goromonzi fulfilled all expectations and we had the additional pleasure of meeting for a short while, Mr. and Mrs. Dakin and their little family.  There was lots of variety; about 85 species of trees and shrubs on kopje and in vlei, and a range of well preserved rock paintings, fascinating enough to make the visit worthwhile for their sake alone.

The kopje vegetation included Ficus natalensis and Ficus sonderi, Garcinia huillensis, Dalbergia nitidula, Diospyros natalensis and Euclea natalensis, Euphorbia matabelica, Diplorhynchus condylocarpon, Monotes engleri, Ochna schweinfurthiana and Ochna puberula, Pappea capensis, Rothmannia fischeri, Sterculia quinqueloba, Vangueria and Vangueriopsis and Zanha africana. Maytenus undata and Tricalysia angolensis seemed to find the kopje environment very much to their liking also, and on both high and low lying ground, Syzygium guineense was in abundance.  Psorospermum febrifugum was also plentiful, and almost every rocky promontory had its “mountain acacia”, Brachystegia glaucescens.  The mnondo, Julbernardia globiflora was also much in evidence.

In the vlei Ficus verruculosa, Maesa lanceolata, Rhamnus prinoides and the bush pink Dombeya burgessiae clustered against a background of Syzygium cordatum, water berry of impressive size and in the bordering low lying terrain, the other Syzygium guineense, Parinari curatellifolia, Strychnos spinosa, monkey orange, and both Terminalia sericea and Terminalia stenostachya were prominent.

The Dissotis canescens found in the vlei during the preceding recce was not seen this time, but I think it is of interest to record that it is there.  So also is the presence of Osyris lanceolata on the kopje.  Not surprisingly, the “fire bush” Hymenodictyon floribundum had dropped its leaves, so was no longer spectacular.  Lannea discolor was also leafless. Cussonia arborea, cabbage tree, looked graceful on the lower contours and there were two or three good specimens of Piliostigma thonningii, monkey bread tree. Lots of Proteas, mainly angolensis and gaguedi.

Botanic Garden walk 4th June with Mr. Muller was devoted very enjoyably, initially to figs and then on to an inspection of the lowveld riverine species.


The following bulletin has been received from Bulawayo:  “REMINDER – we meet on the 3rd July on the corner of Crouch and Essexvale Roads at 0830 hours to study Matsheumhlope trees.  The August outing will also be in the municipal area.  As August is not a very good month for inspiring tree study, your committee thought we should not go far from home and so have decided to have yet another look at Mabukuweni.  On our recent visit there, we made several new finds and we would like to complete our study of the area.  So we shall meet there at 0830 hours on Sunday 7th August.  In case you have forgotten, Mabukuweni is in Chipping Road, which curves off Burnside Road.  If you have not yet seen this very attractive area, please come along; if you have there may be more surprises for you, so come again.”

Aloe Society Annual Show   As previously advertised the Aloe, Cactus and Succulent Society Show will be held at the Garden Club Hall, Salisbury Showground over the Rhodes and Founders long weekend -9th to 12th July.

Indigenous Plants available at Garden Nurseries  During the last few weeks, information on the above subject has been sought from more than 80 garden nurseries all over Rhodesia.

This may not be the best time to plant seedlings out, but members might wish to have them in stock for Spring planting, or at least to bear in mind the indigenous plant seedlings which are available here and there.  And when I say here and there, I mean it.  The nurseries are far flung in Penhalonga or in Gwelo; in Bulawayo Hartley, Salisbury and elsewhere.

I would be delighted to give you the address or addresses of source of supply to any members interested in obtaining indigenous tree seedlings.

Young Scientists Exhibition It is gratifying to note that three scholarships were awarded at the Exhibition for studies related to indigenous trees.

A scholarship, and the Grand Winner Prize, went to Frank Knight of Hamilton Boys High School, Bulawayo, for research into die back in Mukwa Trees.

Another scholarship was awarded to B. Waters of Prince Edward School for research into the transpiration rate of our indigenous trees.

Chikanza of St. Ignatius School earned a scholarship for a study of Fig trees.

Our minor Tree Society Prize for the best exhibit of indigenous trees, (excluding major prize winners) went to P. Kumalo of Gwelo Training College for a study of galls on Msasa leaves.

Subscriptions A few subscriptions are still outstanding.  It would be greatly appreciated if the few members concerned would respond promptly to the latest reminder from the Hon. Treasurer.  Apart from reluctance to lose the support of any member, we are facedwith the doleful fact that, without the sub we simply cannot continue to supply Rhodesia Science News.

By and large however, I must acknowledge, and I do so gratefully, the wide support the Society continues to enjoy, even from the many members who are unable, for a variety of reasons, to join us on our outings

Yours sincerely



Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter 8 August 1977

 Dear Member,

An invitation to attend a “walkabout” in the Avondale Parkland on the morning of Sunday 31st July was unfortunately received too late for inclusion in the July Newsletter.  However, the event is receiving a fair amount of publicity through other media.  For those who might wish to have a look at the area at any time, the easiest approach is probably to turn west off Second Street into Natal Road and then north into Lincoln Road.  The Parkland is on the left.

The Palgrave Book  The latest information on the impending publication of the new Palgrave book, “Trees of Southern Africa” is that Subscribers’ and Sponsors’ editions will also be available to those who wish to apply for them to “The Trustees, Trees of Southern Africa Trust Fund, P.O. Box 1144 Cape Town 8000”.

The subscribers’ edition, limited to 300 copies, will be leather bound, with the subscriber’s name inscribed therein by hand.  The name will also be printed in all editions.  Cost R100.

The sponsors’ edition, in return for a donation of not less the R350, and limited to 50 copies, will be leather bound and will similarly have the name of the sponsor inscribed in the book by hand.  The sponsor’s name will appear in all editions in print.  Each sponsor’s edition will be accompanied by an original colour drawing of a tree.  The Subscribers’ and Sponsors’ list closes on 1st September 1977.


Saturday morning, 2nd July, was spent enjoyably and informatively with Mr. Muller at the Botanic Garden.  Mr. Muller has kindly consented to devote another Saturday morning, 6th August, to our interests, before we revert to the Tuesday afternoon visits of the less wintry months.

A party of 25 visited the Botanic Garden Extension in the Spelonken area north of Christon Bank on Sunday 17th.  Masses of trees of all kinds and descriptions.  The main tour led down to the Mazoe River where Ilex mitis towered over the pools and Acokanthera oppositifolia was in flower.  We failed to find the Teclea rogersii which Mr. Muller identified for us on a previous visit, and reference to an old check list indicated that we should in future give ourselves far more time for exploration of the river bank, for additional genera such as Linociera and Myrica.  On two or three plants there was uncertainty about identification.  Leaf specimens of these were put in the bag after the usual banter and debate but unfortunately owing to Mr. Drummond’s illness, it has not yet been possible to get his verdict.  Information on them will be included in the next newsletter.

On Saturday afternoon 23rd July the Saplings were most hospitably welcomed by Mrs. Withers at Peel Hill, Meyrick Park, after a ramble on a nearby Municipal owned kopje site.  The visit was arranged and conducted by Mrs. Gill Masterson whose thoughtful selection of an interesting variety of trees, and careful preparation of her talks on the characteristics of each, is a feature of the Sapling meetings.


A reminder that the August 7th meeting is at Mabukuweni off Chipping Road which, in turn, is off Burnside Drive.  We meet there at 0830 hours and should have a very interesting time completing our study of this area.

The Society’s outing on 4th September is, yet again, “at home”.  We shall study the palms and exotics in the Bulawayo parks.  Meet at the Selborne Avenue fountain at 0830 hours.

DERIVATION OF SCIENTIFIC NAMES  it may be of interest to include a few of these in Newsletters from time to time, when space permits.

Abbreviata         as in Cassia abbreviata  – ‘shortened’ from the Latin ‘brevis’.  Refers probably to the short racemes of flowers

Acacia                   from the Greek “akantha” meaning thorn

Acuminata          usually refers to the sharply pointed leaves; from the Latin “acumen”.  As in Markhamia acuminata

Adansonia          as in Adansonia digitata the Baobab; named after Michael Adanson. The specific name refers to the hand shaped composition of the leaves. Latin “digitus” – fingers.        

Albizia                   named after Albizi, an Italian who imported plants of the genus into Italy.  In our Albizia antunesiana, the specific name possibly commemorates the Portuguese plant collector Antunes.

That is sufficient for a first dose I think.  Most of the above comes, in substance, from Van Wyk’s

“Trees of the Kruger National Park”.     

 Yours sincerely,



Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter 9 September 1977

Dear Member,

Last month’s letter promised a little more information on the trees seen at Spelonken in July.  In the few hours we were there we recorded 60 species.  There is double that number there and I believe that a series of visits would be well worthwhile.  It is delightful country and there can be few other places with 20 miles of Salisbury which offer a wider spectrum of vegetation.

The Olea africana on the river bank, the leaves of which looked too light and fresh and smooth to be true, turned out nevertheless to be Olea africana.  The Bequaertiodendron magalismontanum was unmistakable and the Ilex mitis and flowering Acokanthera oppositifolia, Bushmans poison, mentioned last month, were confirmed as such.

On a particularly interesting ant-hill a tall Pappea capensis, the Matabeleland Indaba Tree, was laden with an astonishing assortment of fruit, astonishing in that they appeared in some cases to be single berries and in other cases, two or three lobed.  “Aborted” lobes appeared to be in evidence at the base of some of the lager fruits.

On the same anthill was Zanha africana and Maerua triphylla var. pubescens , the trifoliate leaves of which had most of us quite mystified.

Dalbergia nitidula, well in bud in July 1976 showed no sign of bud or flower in July 1977.

A rather unhappy looking Ficus ingens had us guessing for a while because I think we struck it at its lowest ebb in the deciduous cycle.

Our three commonest Brachystegias were there.  So was the munondo, Julbernardia globiflora, and 5 species of Combretum, C. collinum, C. erythrophyllum, C. hereroense, C. molle and C. zeyheri.  The Strychnos genus included S. spinosa which we come across so often, the usually riverine S. potatorum with its relatively small black fruit, and the smooth barked S. innocua with characteristically mat or dull green leaves.  Maytenus and Euclea genera were well represented, and here and there in addition to the well known mahobohobo, Uapaca kirkiana was the rarer Uapaca nitida.

Lake McIlwaine Arboretum on 21st August 1977.  The more energetic members scaled the heights only to find the view of the new Darwendale Dam obscured by haze.  However, they brought back a leaf of Ficus soldanella from the summit to prove their agility, and a collection of other leaf specimens for discussion during the lunch break.  Among these was Hexalobus monopetalus and Dalbergia melanoxylon; and the long narrow leaf of Ficus salicifolia, which used to be F. pretoriae and which, but for the narrowness and length of the leaf, is so easily confused with F. burkei, a personal observation which the botanist would doubtless scorn.  At least one of several Faurea speciosa trees was still in flower.  Fagaropsis angolensis was found on the fringe of the cleared area which on successive visits, looks ever more park like by comparison with the dense growth of the adjacent woodland and upper slopes.  We had with us an aerial photograph of the mid-50’s, a picture of desolation following years of  tree cutting on the hillsides of Hunyani Poort and it was most heartening to be able to view the transformation brought about by 20 years of protection, and all the planning and many years of sustained work of Tree Society members of the 1950’s and 1960’s in cooperation with the Department of National Parks and the now retired Water Bailiff, Col. Kemp.

The upper slopes and surrounds are badly in need of selective thinning and if there are any volunteers for so worthwhile a project I hope they will not be too modest to put their names forward.  I would certainly do my utmost to arrange a small allowance of fuel coupons and funds for the purpose.

Concentration on trees was cheerfully abandoned en route to Bushman’s Point.  Tsessebe, eland ostrich, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest and impala naturally assumed that they were the focus of interest, as indeed they were.  They adopted the same attitude of forbearance on our way out, as did waterbuck, kudu and a solitary reedbuck.  The bird life was fascinating too, and McIlwaine seems as good a place as any in which to seek the guidance of the ornithologists among our members.

The most notable of the tree species noted at Bushman’s Point were Ficus soldanella, Brachylaena rotundata Bridelia mollis and some good specimens of Maytenus undata.  Tricalysia angolensis was unusually large.  In flower were Cassia singueana,  Cassine matabelica, Euclea natalensis, Dombeya rotundifolia and Erythrina abyssinica.  There was a Commiphora in rather baffling leafless, disguise, C. marlothii?, a fair sized Ximenia caffra and a small grove of Faurea saligna, striking in wine coloured leaf.  Pterocarpus rotundifolius was plentiful in the surrounding bus, and the decorative Diospyros natalensis subsp. nummularia was much in evidence among the rocks.  With reluctance I must also record that members still perversely insist on finding Rothmannia fischeri on every kopje, which they have done regularly ever since it was omitted from the new Check List.

Botanic Garden visits were continued in August when, on the morning of Saturday 6th, Mr. Drummond kindly led the party.

From September until further notice, these visits will revert to the first Tuesday afternoon of each month at 1700 hours, but in October the venue will be Greenwood Park.

MATABELELAND BRANCH Successive visits to Mabukuwene reveal an ever wider range of trees and shrubs.  The 92nd variety was recorded in the course of the August visit.  A Check List will be prepared for inclusion with these notes in the next month or two.


If anyone has a well preserved copy of this little book, and would have no objection to lending it for a while, it would be useful to have word of it.  There is a possibility of its reproduction with revised text.  I gather that the main difficulty is to obtain a copy in which the drawings are still in mint condition.

Yours sincerely



Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter 10 October 1977

 Dear Member,

I am grateful to Mrs. Irvine for the following account of the recent visit to Rockdell Farm.

“We had the pleasure of a delightful day at the farm “Rockdell” Eland Estates, owned by Mr. and Mrs. D. G. Black.

We walked around the kopje area to the south of the house and realized how ‘different; the countryside is at the time of year when the old leaves have mostly fallen and we are faced with new and unusual problems.  The trees were either without leaves or were just sprouting new ones.  Despite this there was always some small factor that made it possible to identify the trees and some were in flower.

The Stereospermum kunthianum, pink jacaranda, has been officially identified, there was some small doubt.  The Ormocarpum kirkii had its new leaves on but the flowers were well over and starting to fruit.  This prompted one member, Judy Reid, to tell us how she had raised it quite simply from cutting, a challenge to us all.

Nearby was a large Uapaca nitida in fruit and later on in the day we were pleased to see Uapaca nitida and Uapaca kirkiana growing side by side.  We have commented before on the very metallic like new growth tip on the kirkiana and we could see that the nitida possessed the same feature, only much smaller.

We stopped to marvel at a magnificent Acacia sieberiana which was hard to identify by virtue of its size and age.  It was just about thornless.  We had in fact identified it previously by its old pods which instead of being thick, pithy, as when new, were papery thin and curly, looking more like Albizia pods.  This puzzled us until we found pods in a similar condition under one of the big sieberianas at Alexandra Park.  Obviously they had provided food for ants etc.

On top of the hill was a Sterculia quinqueloba.  It saddened us to see that it had been ring-barked, although it was putting on its new growth in spite of this.

Meandering down and around the hill we returned to the house to find that our hosts had provided us with chairs, umbrellas and tables.  There we sat and enjoyed our lunch under the shade of the trees on the greenest of green lawns, with cool breezes and magnificent views all around us.

We then split into two parties with Mrs. Black showing some of her beautiful shade and fern garden, and Mr. Black accompanying the rest of us around the kopje in the other direction, where it became evident that we had missed by a day or so the mass flowering of a good stand of Ochnas.

Dix Airey here pointed out the change from the dolorite of the red soil kopje moving into the sandy loam of the granite country.

The most outstanding trees of the day were the beautiful Cassia abbreviata with their pale, lemon yellow coloured flowers, long bean pods and new silvery green leaves, as opposed to the short beaned and much more orange yellow of the Cassia singueana seen around Salisbury.  The people on this lower altitude trip will not be able to forget the difference between the two cassias if they visualize this lovely grouping of abbreviates with their particular shade of yellow – remembering also that the singueana has a slender stalked gland between some or all of the leaflets and is common at medium to higher altitudes.

Thank you to our hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Black, for a happy and informative day.

Botanic Garden There was a good turnout for  the Botanic Garden visit on the afternoon of the 6th September, with several visitors attracted by “The Carpenter” write up in the Rhodesia Herald, motivated by Mr. Airey as our PRO.   We are indebted to Mr. R. Drummond who addressed and led the party.


Mr. A. G. Dry, Hon. Secretary of the Matabeleland Branch, has sent in the following bulletin:  “A reminder of our September outing to the Acutt Farm just beyond the airport.  Meet at the Municipal Car Park at 0830 hours, Sunday 2nd October.On Sunday 6th November we go out to the Matopos to look at the wonderful variety of trees along the Circular Drive.  While there, we plan to hold our annual general meeting in an informal atmosphere over lunch.  We meet at the Retreat Shopping Centre and set off for the Matopos at 0830 hours.  Please come and bring a friend.”

Last month’s Matabeleland notes included reference to the wide range of trees at Mabukuwene.  A check list is enclosed with this letter.

Yours sincerely,



Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter 11 November 1977

Dear Member,

The violet trees, Securidaca longepedunculata, in full blossom, and a flowering rain tree Lonchocarpus capassa, were among the rich patches of woodland through which we passed on our way to Mr. C. D. Le Clus’ farm Nkuyu, on Sunday 17th October 1977.

Nkuyu is west of the Great Dyke, and from the sweep of terraced lawn fronting the house and extending down to hug the base of two magnificent granite kopjes on either side, there is a magnificent view of a large section of the Dyke.  The old Ethel Mine was located more or less in the centre of the view.

Mr. and Mrs. Le Clus spared no effort to make this a day to remember.  The carefully planned walks and gentle climbs were designed to take in as wide a variety of trees as possible within afternoon copious quantities of tea and cold drinks and quite irresistible confections.

Donny Le Clus’ brothers, Trevor and Viv and their charming wives, had preceded us to ensure that we arrived to a true family welcome.  We could not have asked for greater kindness and hospitality.

Mr. Trevor Gordon came through from Darwendale to make certain that we did not lose our way after the turn off from Banket, and to take us through our botanical paces – which was just as well because we came across well over 90 species.  Small wonder that, as Mr. Gordon reminded us, Mr. Le Clus had received an award for outstanding conservation practice in this district.

To add to our enjoyment, we were joined by Mr. Geoffrey Moore and several other friends of the Ayshire Branch.

Scenically, the most imposing sight was undoubtedly that of towering boulders in a perfect setting of mountain acacias, Brachystegia glaucescens, Sterculia quinqueloba and Commiphora marlothii and C. mollis, but there were trees of interest at every turn.  In the kopje area, the dark greens were mainly Cassine matabelica, Erythroxylum emarginatum, Euclea natalensis, Diospyros natalensis, Tarenna neurophylla, Ormocarpum kirkii and Ximenia americanaRhoicissus revoilii was plentiful and lighter shades of green were provided by the snow berry, Securinega virosa, the rubber tree, Diplorhynchus condylocarpon, the baboon’s breakfast, Hexalobus monopetalus in fresh leaf, and the very new leaves of Pouzolzia hypoleuca, the soap bush.  Zanha africana was in flower, in each case, the male tree, according to Mr. Gordon, this being a dioecious species, and Diospyros kirkii was in fruit.  Large specimens of Tricalysia angolensis were shedding leaf and of course, the fire bush, Hymenodictyon floribundum was quite leafless at this time of the year.

On the eastern lower slope of the kopje there was a very nice Dalbergia nitidula surrounded by munondo, Julbernardia globiflora, Uapaca kirkiana, wild holly, Psorospermum febrifugum and monkey bread, Piliostigma thonningii.  Bridelia mollis and B. cathartica occurred, and Mr. Gordon pointed out one specimen of B. micrantha.  The mufuti, Brachystegia boehmii was sprouting startling shades of colourful new leaf in this area.

The msasa, Brachystegia spiciformis occurred mainly along the route of the afternoon expedition to the river and, as the sandy soil encroached, Monotes glaber appeared in increasing quantity with Burkea africana in full flower.  The river banks were thick with the indigenous willow, Salix subserrata.  In the big depression surrounding the river, Acacia polyacantha dominated.  Diospyros lycioides was also flourishing there, a Carissa edulis was resplendent in flower and fruit, and there were several Canthium huillense shrubs.  Dodonaea viscosa seemed to prefer the conditions a few feet higher up.

Near the orchid a Diosprios mespiliformis stood sentinel over a rather intriguing burial place in a hollowed out boulder, and below it, in the rocks, was the very lovely flower of the dwarf Ochna macrocalyx.

Also seen were the white Bauhinia, B. petersiana, Capparis tomentosa and Uapaca nitida all rather rare in the places we usually visit nearer Salisbury.  In addition, Cassia singueana and C. abbreviata, Combretum fragrans and C. molle, Cussonia arborea and one of the Erythrinas; Terminalia sericea and T. stenostachya occurred, Flacourtia indica, the batoko plum, Faurea saligna F. speciosa and Protea angolensisPittosporum viridiflorum was quite widespread, and there were no less than 5 species of Ficus and 3 of Strychnos.  The flowering of the pink jacaranda, Stereospermum kunthianum was over, but the beautiful, though unobtrusive little flower of the duiker berry, Pseudolachnostylis maprouneifolia, was well worth scrutiny within a few meters of the house.

With this and so much else to see, and with the hospitality we received, Donny and Delyse are almost bound to be invaded again by the Tree Society.  We are most grateful for a wonderful day.

Last month’s letter referred to the geological variations on Mr. Black’s farm, “Rockdell” and mentioned the change, in one section, from dolerite to sandy loam.  Mr. Dix Airey has been persuaded to write an article on the interesting geology of the area and on the copper ingots which have been fond there.  I am inviting the Editor of Science News to publish it.

The Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Rhodesia’s Hardwood Timber Resources has been published and is obtainable from the Government Publications Sales office in Cecil House, Stanley Avenue, Salisbury.  The price is a moderate 40c and it is well worth buying.  I have attempted a summary of the main text, which will accompany this letter, but summaries are never wholly satisfactory.

MATABELELAND BRANCH – from Mr. A. C. Dry comes the following bulletin:  “The outing to a farm beyond the airport in Sunday 2nd October was a very pleasant one with trees in blossom or new leaf.  Particularly enjoyable were Albizia antunesiana in full bloom and tender young leaves, and Lonchocarpus capassa covered in pink, not purple bloom before the leaves come out.

We collected Combretum collinum fruits for the Botanic Gardens.  Members are reminded of the list of seeds we were asked to collect.

It was decided to change the venue of the Annual General Meeting from the Matopos to the Upper Hillside Dam.  We hope to see all members at the dam at 0845 hours on Sunday 6th November.

December and January meetings will be arranged later.”

Yours sincerely,





Of the main indigenous commercial timbers used in industry in Rhodesia, the Report indicates that on Kalahari sand, a mature Rhodesian teak tree, Baikiaea plurijuga, is likely to be between 125 and 400 years old.  Mchibi or Red Mahogany, Guibourtia coleosperma, has about the same rate of growth as teak.  Mukwa, Pterocarpus angolensis, grows faster, and its lifespan is about 100 years.

In the small sizes available, mukwa is of limited use in the furniture trade, but is excellent for veneers.  Because of their hardness, teak and mchibi also have limited usage in the building and furniture trades.

Thus 70-80% of these timbers are used for sleepers and parquetry, and the balance is converted into sawn boards.

Unfortunately the Report does not go into the feasibility or the economics of the use of alternative materials such as steel and concrete for sleepers.

In the one forest under Forestry Commission management which was visited by the Commission of Inquiry, others were flown over at low level, the indications were that regeneration was satisfactory, except in the case of mukwa.

The Railways are experimenting with treated msasa sleepers, Brachystegia spiciformis, mugongo, Ricinodendron rautanenii, is being used for some purposes, and South African research has shown Burkea africana and Kirkia acuminata to be suitable furniture timbers.

The Report recommends research along these lines but acknowledges that in the case of many species the mature tree population is so low that extraction is not warranted.

The ecological balance in the teak forest is a very delicate one and is easily upset by fire or uncontrolled felling.

In some quarters it is considered that the present level of exploitation is too high and that it may be detrimental to the forest and damaging to the ecosystem.  Moreover, as a result of the current 40 year felling cycle, the logs coming into the mills from a second cutting cycle are considered too small for a variety of purposes.

The Commission of Inquiry recommends that the length of the felling cycle be extended to 60 years, without changing minimum felling diameter.

Overall, about 1.5 million hectares of teak woodland and 827 000 ha. of msasa woodland are suitable for sustained yield management.

The Forestry Commission controls approximately 674 000 ha. of indigenous woodland in the European area and, to a greater or lesser degree, 235 000 ha. in the African area.  Of the latter, 174 100 ha. is Forest Land which enjoys the same status as Forest Land in the European area, and about 61 000 is in TTL and is reserved for forestry purposes in terms of the Tribal Trust Land Produce Act.

The Report pays tribute to the work of Forestry officials but insists that the Forestry Commission must be more adequately financed to protect fully, all forests under its jurisdiction, and to establish a physical presence in all areas.  A large part of the Mafungabusi Forest in the African area, which protects the headwaters of the Sengwa River, has been so decimated by squatters that it should be excised from the Forest Land category.

In the opinion of the Commission of Inquiry, the 61 000 ha. within TTL which are reserved for forestry purposes under the TTL Forest Produce Act, and are protected by the Forestry Commission against fire, should be declared Forest Land in the African area in terms of the Land Tenure Act and handed over to the Forestry Commission to be protected and managed on a multiple land-use basis, with a sustained yield of high quality sawn logs.

Furthermore, the TTL Forest Produce Act should be consolidated with the Forest Act to achieve a more uniform application of conservation and protection.

There are areas of good quality msasa and teak woodlands in TTL (some 800 000 ha. in all) which are not reserved under any Act, are not under any form of scientific management, and are not given the protection required to ensure their survival.

The Commission of Inquiry was appalled by the liquidation of woodland in some areas such as Nkai, and foresees grave danger of creation of desert conditions.

To the Commission of Inquiry, the conversion of Kalahari sand woodlands into arable land, which can probably give a reasonable arable cash crop for a maximum of two or three years, “is a process beyond comprehension”, which “must ultimately lead to disaster and the ruination of the population it seeks to support”.

While acknowledging the complex problem of land pressures for food production, it urges the retention of forest cover on Kalahari sand as the best form of land use, and recommends sustained yield forest management in suitable TTL woodlands as being of maximum benefit to the greatest number for all time.  It recommends that this 800 000 ha be declared Forest Land in terms of the Land Tenure Act and handed over to the Forestry Commission; but recognizes that when population pressures demand it, more suitable arable land would have to be made available elsewhere.  It proposes that income from the exploitation of these woodlands under sustained yield management should be for the benefit of the local African Councils for investment in their areas, and that in conjunction therewith, much more research should be carried out on multiple land use, to explore the potential and to ensure minimum disturbance of the ecosystem.

Over 5 million cubic meters of indigenous timber are used annually for firewood and poles.  About half this total goes into heating, cooking, fencing and hut building in TTLs where, in some formerly well wooded areas, cow dung now has to be used as fuel. About one third of the total is accounted for by tobacco curing and general labour use on European farms.  The Mining Industry uses a large quantity, and so do Africans and Europeans living in the urban areas.

Substitute fuel material is urgently necessary.  The estimated yield of Eucalypt woodlots is nearly 10 times that of an equivalent area of indigenous savanna woodland.  On the European farms, about a quarter of the demand is met from such sources, but more afforestation with exotica is required on these farms, and also in proximity to mines.

The response to efforts by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, through Chiefs and Councils, to make such provision in the TTLs has been disappointing.  At present there are only 3 278 ha. of exotic woodlots in the TTLs.  91 000 ha. are needed for immediate requirements, and the demand could almost double by the turn of the century.

The Chiefs to who the Commission of Inquiry spoke, favour the idea of establishing woodlots but only if other land could be made available for cultivation.  They could not see any land presently under their jurisdiction which could be set aside for this purpose.

The Commission of Inquiry favours a suggested approach that in their general land planning exercises, the Ministry of Internal Affairs should set aside land for woodlots in the same way as they plan land for arable, grazing and other purposes, and that the Forestry Commission should develop these projects when the areas have been allocated and declared Forest Land in terms of the Land Tenure Act.  In addition, it feels that numerous small woodlots should be established in existing settled areas, concurrently with a programme of education of the people to obtain their cooperation and the cooperation of the Chiefs and Councils which is so essential.

It is stressed that the areas of individual woodlots the tempo of afforestation and distribution must be dictated by the availability of firewood, population density and suitable land.

In addition to its recommendation concerning the setting aside of land for woodlots, the Commission of Inquiry recommends that active steps be taken to educate the rural population in both African and European areas on the detrimental effects which the destruction of natural forest vegetation has on the environment.

Further recommendations are that legislation be enacted to enable the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, through the NRB and ICAs to act more effectively in the preservation of the environment; that such statutory amendments be made as will enable the Forest Act to impose a control over all indigenous timber which is made available for sale from State, European private land and African Purchase Land, and that the Mining Timber Permit Board be replaced by an Indigenous Timber Permit Board.

There is a meager 36 857 ha of exotic hardwood plantation.  Apart from wattle and a small amount of match polar, this includes 21 458 ha under Eucalypts which, it is estimated, will ultimately yield, in the high rainfall zone of the Eastern Districts, nearly seven times more than the total sustained yield of 1.6 million ha. of good quality indigenous woodlands on Kalahari sand. (see para 3).

The quality of the Eucalypt timber is not uniformly good and much more research needs to be done.

The Commission of Inquiry recommends the implementation of existing plans for an exotic hardwood expansion programme, combined with intensified research.  It also recommends, subject to a feasibility study to ascertain whether a chemical pulp mill would be economically viable, the afforestation of sufficient land in the Eastern Districts, to both exotic hardwoods and softwoods, adequate to match the capacity of the pulp mill if one is established.


Tree Society of Rhodesia Newsletter 12 December 1977

 Dear Member,

Following a visit to the Botanic Garden Extension at Mazoe in July I remarked more or less conversationally in a newsletter, that there could be “few other places within 20 miles of Salisbury which offer a wider spectrum of vegetation”.  That was an understatement.

As many members know, the Extension, or at least a delightful section of it, was part of the farm Spelonken, a part donated to the National Botanic Garden by the owner, Mr. H. H. Burrows, and accessible from the Christon Bank road.

About a week ago we were the guests of Mr. and Mrs. Burrows at the “parent” farm, Spelonken.  Access is from the Mazoe Road bend near the Henderson Research Station, and the homestead at between 4100 and 4200 ft. snuggles at the foot of the imposing range of granite kopjes which overlook the top, south east, shore line of the Dam.

Mr. and Mrs. Burrows have that special gift of making visitors feel that the pleasure of a visit is a shared experience which they, as hosts, would be as happy to repeat s their guests.  They devoted every minute of the day to us and to our interests, they planned a selection of walks from which we could choose, they anticipated our needs for shade and refreshment, and they showed us a range of vegetation which probably exceeded in number anything we had previously recorded in the course of a single day’s journey.

Situated as it is towards the head of the Mazoe Valley, Spelonken forms part of a belt of land on which lowveld and Highveld vegetation meet.  Thus, on its 1400 acres, there are known to be some 200 species of indigenous trees and shrubs. Some of the low veld species are pretty well at the end of their range, among them Bauhinia petersiana, Combretum mossambicense and Crossopteryx febrifuga, one of the “ordeal” trees.  Guided by Mr. Burrows who, I am convinced, knows every plant on Spelonken, and aided and abetted by Mr. Robert Drummond whom we were very glad to have with us again, we found 120 of these species in four or five hours of roaming, and were also charmed en route by masses of Lobelias and ground orchids, Eulophias.

We visited two short stretches of the Mazoe.  The first was approached through an impressive stand of Acacias, A. polyacantha and A. karroo.  A. polyacantha was wearing its flowers with typical `elan, with the flower spikes jauntily semi-erect near the ends of the branches.

The river walk was richly endowed with Diospyros lycioides, interspersed with Olea africana, Euclea divinorum, Cassine aethiopica, Rhus lancea, Rhus longipes, Acokanthera oppositifolia, Ficus capensis, Celtis africana, Ekebergia capensis, Myrica serrata, Pittosporum viridiflorum and Dovyalis zeyheri.  Imposingly tall was Combretum erythrophyllum, in fact, this ‘river Combretum’ was there is every shape and size.  The indigenous willow, Salix subserrata, was also happy there, and on the opposite bank was Bequaertiodendron magalismontanum.  On slightly higher ground above that were two flowering violet trees, Securidaca longepedunculata.

Near this stretch of river there was an interlude of banter with Mr. Drummond about a Rhus which looked like longipes x lancea.  When flowers and fruits are absent, free rein can be given to the imagination.

A flower we nearly missed because it is so inconspicuous was the small yellow bloom of the male Flacourtia indica.  The even less conspicuous, greenish flower of the female of the species was not seen, as far as I know.

Much denser vegetation along the other section of the river included some big Ilex mitis trees, and the graceful Catha edulis.  Knowing that it would be of particular interest to us Robert Drummond produced from the densest part a specimen of Linociera battiscombei.  Bequaertiodendron was again plentiful here, the Myrica serrata were big, a spreading Olea africana graced an anthill on the outer fringe of the riverine belt, and I think it was here, too, that we saw a particularly handsome Boscia salicifoliaFriesodielsia obovata and Diospyros natalensis provided even more variety.

The approach was through a mixture of vlei and sandy soil in which the dwarf Combretum platypetalum was very decorative, some in brilliant flower and some in colourful pod.  On the kopje walk we were in a different world.  Predictably, the mountain acacias, Brachystegia glaucescens, the Commiphoras, C. marlothii and C. mollis, Sterculia quinqueloba and Kirkia acuminata seemed to stand aloof.  But they did not steal the show.  Monotes, to their liking.  They were not exceptionally large, but were numerous.  Faurea speciosa and F. saligna were there.  Zanha africana displayed its attractive orange cherry sized fruit and also some flowers.  Ficus sonderi appeared to be in its element and even chose to demonstrate, in one place, that like so many of its cousins it could thrive in the cracks of rocks.  Garcinia huillense was in fruit, still green, unfortunately.  Hymenodictyon floribundum was beginning to burst into leaf with the promise of the copper glory of its mature foliage to come.  There was a fine specimen of Acacia goetzeiTricalysia angolensis was found in several rocky nooks. Euphorbia griseola was an old acquaintance and, of many of us, the peeling bark Euphorbia espinosa, a new one.  Hexalobus monopetalus was moderate in size but refreshingly dark green.  Aloe excelsas seemed to group themselves fairly close together for company.  Ochna schweinfurthiana,  Pleurostylia africana Pappea capensis, Ximenia caffra, Stereospermum kunthianum, Ozoroa reticulata and Rhus leptodictya occurred at random.

Afzelia quanzensis, the pod mahogany, looked a little unhappy, but a handsome Dalbergia nitidula emerged from some ancient stumps, old enough to show the almost startling purple of the heartwood.

There were many more species on the kopje, near the homestead, and generally around and about.  Among those in flower were Peltophorum africanum, Pericopsis angolensis, Pavetta schumanniana, Protea gaguedi and Psorospermum febrifugum.  Among the more challenging species, co-existing with Terminalia sericea and Terminalia stenostachya, was T. trichopoda; at least, that was the assumption because of its appearance but the rather small and immature specimen of foliage I brought in to the Herbarium has not by any means convinced Mr. Drummond.

The variety was endless, and the day all too short.  If any member is interested in a fuller list of the species identified, I shall be happy to supply one.

To supplement his botanical treasures, Mr. Burrows has planted a considerable number of additional trees, principally lowveld species, which look extremely promising.  One, which also occurs naturally on the farm, is Holarrhena pubescens, now in flower.  It is one of the loveliest flowering shrubs we have.  A grove of old Mazoe lemon trees, with their interesting historical associations, was removed, unfortunately, during clearing operations for the Dam, many years ago.

I must resist the temptation to dwell further on the subject of Spelonken.  Our sincere thanks go to Hal and Marj for a day full of interest and friendship and enjoyment.

The Tuesday afternoon visit to the Botanic Garden on 1st November was, for most of us, an expedition into the unknown.  A spur of the moment suggestion by Mr. Tom Muller, led us to explore the Garden for trees in flower, which, of course, was relatively simple under his navigation.  But the trees we examined were in large measure those cryptically described by botanists as confined to “E” with an occasional “NE”, “CE” or “ES”.  Hence we spent an extremely pleasant hour or two admiring species like Pleiocarpa pycnantha, Funtumia africana, Pachystela breviceps and Mascarenhasia arborescens enjoying, as always Tom’s vivid, quick fire description of growth form and habitat, but without remembering much of which applied to what after the first ten.  So we shall have to return several times before we feel at home with them, an observation which will not surprise Tom in the very least.  We are sincerely grateful for the way he perseveres with us.

The Saplings spent a light hearted afternoon at Coronation Park on Saturday, 12th November.

The first anthill we stopped at, although severely trimmed around the base for the comfort of the campers, nevertheless had seven species on it, so we did not have to travel far to cover the 10 species to which we usually limit ourselves.

However the termite mound was useful as a reminder of its versatility rather than for the quality of its trees, so we went a little further afield.

We spent most of the time at the north east corner of the park where the magnificent specimen of Ficus sycomorus, Celtis africana and Vitex payos were truly worthy of the considerable thought and study which Mrs Gill Masterson always devotes to her talks on these occasions.

An equally fine Erythrina abyssinica give us an opportunity to debate all the vegetative characteristics, real and imaginary which should enable one to distinguish E. abyssinica from E. latissima.  We decided we were not yet quite ready to write a thesis on the subject.

We were lucky enough to see before leaving the lovely flower panicles of Ehretia amoena.

The Annual General Meeting will take place on the 22nd February, 1978. Professor Hiram Wild has kindly consented to give us a talk on Tree Distribution, so please diarize the event.

While on the subject of the AGM I would ask members also to give some thought to Committee nominations.  It is not essential, of course to propose office bearers prior to the meeting, but it could help to bear the matter in mind and to ensure that potential nominees are willing to stand for nomination.  If members wish to see new faces in the Chair and in other Committee offices here is the chance to do something about it.

If anyone would care to volunteer for the post of Hon. Secretary, this would be a great boon.

If any member wishes to move a resolution to amend the Constitution of the Society he or she must in accordance with the Constitution, “submit such resolution in writing duly seconded by another member to the Secretary not less than 21 days before the Annual General Meeting”.

The minutes of the last AGM will be distributed with the next newsletter.

Some correspondence has taken place as a result of the Hardwood Inquiry Report which was summarized as an addendum to the November newsletter.  This will be more fully reported on in my annual Report at the AGM.

Following correspondence with Meikles Southern Sun Hotels I am able to report that for a group tour of a minimum of 12 people, a stay of 3 days at Bumi Hills Safari Lode, in shared accommodation “in the Fish Eagle rooms” would be $91 per person.  The price includes airfares from Salisbury, launch trip to and from Kariba, and all meals.  The cost of a single room would be $100 per person.

The price, ex Bulawayo, has not been ascertained, but will be speedily followed up if there are enquiries from our Matabeleland colleagues.  It should be slightly less.

Any takers? I imagine that the best chance of getting this group concession will be outside school holidays.  No reduced price has been quoted for juveniles.


Mr. A.C. Dry reports as follows:  “We held our Annual General Meeting on Sunday 6th November, sitting under a spreading Ficus sonderi.  The Chairman’s report is appended.

We have arranged what should be a fascinating visit to the Matopos Research Station led by Mr. Robi Denny and Mr. Peter Kye.

Christmas Greeting to all members from the Committee and from me.  Thanks for your support in 1977 and best wishes for 1978.

Yours sincerely,

DICK PETHERAM    President