Also known as
Rooikaree (Afr.), Mokalabata, Monhlohlo, Motshakhutshakhu (N.Sotho), Inhlangutshane (Siswati), Mosinabele, Mosilabele (S.Sotho), Mosilabele (Tswana), Mushakaladza (Venda), Umhlakotshane (Xhosa), African sumach, Willow rhus, Sumach
Photo by Matthew Fainman (CC BY 4.0)
This plant has a mild fragrance
More images of Karee
Searsia lancea, previously Rhus lancea, is a small- to medium-sized evergreen tree that usually grows to a height of 7 m and a width of 7 m but can be larger depending on environmental factors. The Searsia lancia is usually a single-stemmed, low branching tree which has a dense, soft, round canopy. The karee has a coarse-textured bark and on older specimens it is dark grey or brown in colour, while on young branches and trees it is a reddish-brown colour. The small, inconspicuous flowers are presented as much-branched sprays which are greenish-yellow in colour and are produced from June until September. The male and female flowers occur on separate trees. Drought and frost tolerant. Searsia lancea has a course textured bark and leaves are trifoliate, up to 12cm long and taper into a prominent tip. The small round fruit attracts animals when ripe. Often used as shade tree in arid areas. The Karee occurs naturally in Acacia woodland and along drainage lines, rivers and streams. It is often found growing on lime-rich substrates. The karee occurs from Zambia in the north to the Western Cape in the south. It is found throughout the Free State and in parts of all the other provinces of South Africa except for KwaZulu-Natal. Most of the species grown in southern Africa, belonging to the genus Rhus, have been placed in Searsia. In southern Africa there are about 111 species of Searsia. Searsia lancea belongs to the family Anacardiaceae (the Mango family) which is the fourth largest tree family in southern Africa. This family is composed of at least 80 native tree species. Searsia is easy to recognize, as the leaves are all trifoliate and have a resinous smell when crushed. Common edible fruit and seeds that belong to this family include the mango, pistachio nut and cashew nut. The resinous substance is poisonous in many species such as poison ivy.
Common problems with Karee
Generally problem free
How to harvest Karee
Fruit ripes from Spring to early Summer.
How to propagate Karee
The ripe seed should be sown in seedling trays using a good seedling medium and transplanted into bigger containers when the seedlings reach the two-leaf stage.
Cuttings can be taken using young growth in spring time.
Special features of Karee
Fruit is eaten by birds such as bulbuls, guineafowl and francolins.
Attracts useful insects
The sweetly scented flowers attract bees and other insects to them.
Other uses of Karee
Shade tree for arid areas