Common name: Tree Fuchsia; Zulu: ubuTshwala-benhoni; Sotho name: Motheberebe; Xhosa name: umBinza

‘Hilarious Lucy’ is guaranteed to bring cheer to even the smokiest of Autumn days. As land owners start to burn and your views disappear, focus on the little things – and there is nothing more splendid than the small orange tubular blooms which burst from the branches of the Halleria lucida. 

The flowers are soon joined by fat, green fruits which eventually turn black.  The Zulu name for Halleria, which means ‘beer for the birds’, aptly illustrates the abundance of nectar produced by the red flowers.  Birds flock to the trees to enjoy the feast – sunbirds, white eyes, thrushes, loeries and mousebirds. Often the tree is simply abuzz as a swarm of bees descend for a few days to enjoy the sweet flowers.

Naturally found in the wetter regions of South Africa,  this tree survives fire and frost in rocky grassland (resulting in a stunted shrub), but is happiest in the mist belt forest where it can grow very tall. In the garden it grows quickly and is likely to reach about 4m, flowering profusely for much of the year. The perfect tree for a wildlife friendly garden.

Click on any of the links below to see another Dargle wildflower