A fascinating aspect of the tree fuchsia (Halleria lucida) is that although flowers appear on new growth, it is characteristically the old wood that bears clusters of apricot, orange or even bright red tubular flowers on short stems. These flowers are rich in nectar and attract a variety of nectar-feeding birds as well as bees and other insects, which act as pollinators.
These trees typically flower from April through to August. As you can see from the photograph above, their flowers tend to be partially hidden by the leaves. They are followed by the development of green berry-like fruits which ripen to black.
The tree itself is often multi-stemmed with drooping branches. It grows in coastal scrub, in deep evergreen forests, along forest margins, on rocky mountain slopes, near rivers and on stream banks from the Western Cape along the eastern side of the country through to Mpumalanga. Halleria lucida is also a popular ornamental garden tree.
The genus Halleria is named after Albrecht von Haller (1708-77), Professor of Botany at Gottingen while the specific name lucida is Latin for shining or shiny and refers to the glossy foliage.
VAN DER SPUY Una. South African Shrubs and Trees for the Garden. 1976 Hugh Keartland Publishers. Johannesburg.
VAN WYK Braam and VAN WYK Piet. Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa. 2013 Struik Nature. Cape Town.