At Urban Farmers South Africa we have chosen to use Sugar Gum as much as possible because it has great building qualities. It is our first choice, however it may be prohibitively expensive so we also have the option of pine. It is also an alien species here in South Africa, particularly prevalent in the Cape, so we feel we are putting it to good use.
What does it look like?
Slender, evergreen tree 15-40 m high with smooth, flaky, tan-coloured bark; foliage concentrated at the ends of branches. Leaves: Dark green and glossy above, pale below; adult leaves pendulous, 80-140mm long, sweet-tasting; juvenile leaves elliptic or circular with reddish stalks. Flowers: Cream with long-exerted stamens, buds ribbed with rounded caps. Flowers appear in October-May. Fruit/Seeds: Brown capsules, ovoid, ribbed, valves deeply enclosed.
Where does this species come from?
What is its invasive status in South Africa?
Existing legislation: CARA 2002 – Category 2
Where in South Africa is it a problem?
Mostly confined to the Western Cape.
How does it spread?
Spreads by seed dispersal.
Why is it a problem?
It competes with and replaces indigenous species. Trees along watercourses are likely to reduce stream flow.
Does the plant have any uses?
Used for shelter, shade, timber, firewood and as a honey source and a valuable tree to the bee-keeping industry.