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What we do Matters

What we do Matters - Precious Tree Project

“Before the emergence of this pandemic, I started plans to raise awareness of our natural biome, by using my passion for cycling to raise money for an amazing local Non-Profit-Organisation in Wilderness whose intention is to assist the natural restoration of indigenous forests in the Garden Route, Precious Tree Project.

Since the current pandemic, we have seen how communities less fortunate than us, are being starved of essentials: basic food and health supplies.  This highlights the importance of becoming sustainable: by growing our own foods, planting trees that clean the air and recycle water around us. Nature heals and gives us medicines through its offerings of medicinal herbs, plants and trees.

My mission, together with Precious Tree Project, is extended to not only plant indigenous forest trees, but to share, teach, develop and actively regrow what we have unconsciously pushed back for so many years and create sustainable livelihoods.

I commit to making my passion for cycling, a (sustainable) vehicle to maintain ongoing awareness.

What we do matters. I invite you to join me. 

With gratitude”

Dr Jon Morley (11 April, 2020).

A big thanks to each and every one of you for your support and helping make this day at the Bergplaas Community Creche possible! Tour de Burn – a tree cycling project

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Tree Medicines of the Garden Route: White Stinkwood

Tree Medicines of the Garden Route - White Stinkwood - Precious Tree Project

Scientific name: Celtis africana.
Family: Cannabaceae.
Common names: White stinkwood; Witstinkhout (Afr.); umVumvu (Xhosa); uSinga lwesalukazi (Zulu); Modutu (Sotho & Tswane); Mpopano (Venda).

Celtis africana is common and widespread across South Africa and well recognised for the beautiful umbrella effect of its branches as it grows and matures.  This is a deciduous tree and occurs in a wide range of habitats – growing in dense forest, on rocky outcrops, in bushveld, in open grassland, on mountain slopes, on coastal dunes, along river banks and in kloofs. Its  scientific name “ Celtis” is derived from the ancient Greek name for those plants regarded as the lotus of the ancients).

Separate male and female flowers are produced on the same tree and the flowers are usually pollinated by bees.

This species is not related to the True Stinkwood (Ocotea bullata) nor do they look similar but this genus (Celtis Africana) is commonly known as white stinkwood because of the pale, bordering on white colour of the wood and the odour emitted when the wood is freshly cut.

Notes:

a. Bear in mind when harvesting any indigenous tree to do so sustainably. Different trees and different parts of a tree have their own harvesting methods and periods throughout the year. The South African National Biodiversity Institute has informative harvesting tips on their website (SANBI link below).

b. As with any medication, when using plants for their medicinal values it is recommended that you seek professional guidance from a natural health practitioner and undertake appropriate research before use.

For additional information on germination, propagation, ecology, maintenance, etc. of indigenous SA trees, go to: www.sanbi.org.za

Click here if you would like to sponsor an indigenous tree and help grow a mini forest!

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Tree Medicines of the Garden Route: Tree Fuchsia

Tree Medicines of the Garden Route - Tree Fuchsia - Precious Tree Project

Scientific name: Halleria lucida.
Family: Stilbaceae.
Common names: Tree Fuchsia, White olive (Eng.), Notsung, Witolienhout, Witolyfhout (Afr.), umbinza (isiXhosa), indomela, umbinza (isiZulu), lebetsa (Sesotho), murevhe (Tshivenda).

Halleria lucida is a hardy, evergreen, small, willowy-in-nature tree that grows in a range of habitats from deep forests to rocky cold mountain slopes. In colder and more exposed areas, the Fuchsia usually grows between 2 – 5m but can reach up to 12m in height in well watered, protected situations and up to 20m in forests.

The numerous clusters of green berries turn black when ripe and contain a jelly-like flesh in which the seeds are found. Its ripe fleshy, black berries and nectar-rich flowers make the Fuchsia one of the best bird-attracting trees.

Notes:

a. Bear in mind when harvesting any indigenous tree to do so sustainably. Different trees and different parts of a tree have their own harvesting methods and periods throughout the year. The South African National Biodiversity Institute has informative harvesting tips on their website (SANBI link below).

b. As with any medication, when using plants for their medicinal values it is recommended that you seek professional guidance from a natural health practitioner and undertake appropriate research before use.

For additional information on germination, propagation, ecology, maintenance, etc. of indigenous SA trees, go to: www.sanbi.org.za

Click here if you would like to sponsor an indigenous tree and help grow a mini forest!

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Tree Medicines of the Garden Route: White Pear

Tree Medicines of the Garden Route - White Pear - Precious Tree Project NPO

Scientific name: Apodytes dimidiata E.Mey. ex Arn. subsp. dimidiata.
Family: Icacinaceae.
Common names: White Pear, Bird’s Eye (Eng.); Witpeer (Afr.); umdakane (Xhosa); umdagane (Zulu); umdzagame (Swati) sephopha-madi, kgalagangwê (N. Sotho), tshiphopha-madi (Venda).

Apodytes dimidiata occurs across South Africa in coastal evergreen bush, at the margins of medium altitude evergreen forest, in open woodlands and on grassy mountain slopes, often among rocks. As a well-known “forest tree”, the White Pear is mostly found growing as part of a forest biome – such as those between George and Tsitsikamma along our Garden Route.  This beauty is said to comprise between 3 and 9% of the total tree population of the Knysna Forest itself. Generally a small bushy tree growing up to 5m tall, the White Pear can reach heights of 20m when growing in a forest.

Notes:

a. Bear in mind when harvesting any indigenous tree to do so sustainably. Different trees and different parts of a tree have their own harvesting methods and periods throughout the year. The South African National Biodiversity Institute has informative harvesting tips on their website (SANBI link below).

b. As with any medication, when using plants for their medicinal values it is recommended that you seek professional guidance from a natural health practitioner and undertake appropriate research before use.

For additional information on germination, propagation, ecology, maintenance, etc. of indigenous SA trees, go to: www.sanbi.org.za

Click here if you would like to sponsor a White Pear and help grow a mini forest!

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Tree Medicines of the Garden Route: Cape Beech

Tree Medicines of the Garden Route - Cape Beech - Precious Tree Project NPO

Scientific name: Rapanea melanophloeos.
Family: Myrsinaceae.
Common names: Cape Beech (Eng.); Boekenhout, Beukehout (Afr.); IsiCalabi, umaPhipha, iKhubalwane, isiQalaba sehlati (Zulu); isiQwane sehlati (Xhosa); iGcolo, udzilidzili (Swazi).

Rapanea melanophloeos is widely distributed throughout southern Africa and is found along the damp areas of mountain and coastal forests, swamps and bush clumps. The Cape Beech does well in coastal areas where winds are strong and is fairly drought-tolerant. The Cape Beech is a dense, evergreen tree that is native to the Afromontane forests of Southern Africa – the classification into which our Garden Route forests fall.

Notes:

a. Bear in mind when harvesting any indigenous tree to do so sustainably. Different trees and different parts of a tree have their own harvesting methods and periods throughout the year. The South African National Biodiversity Institute has informative harvesting tips on their website (SANBI link below)

b. As with any medication, when using plants for their medicinal values it is recommended that you seek professional guidance from a natural health practitioner and undertake appropriate research before use.

For additional information on germination, propagation, ecology, maintenance, etc. of indigenous SA trees, go to: www.sanbi.org.za

Click here if you would like to sponsor a Cape Beech and help grow a mini forest!

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Celebrating Arbour Week

Arbour Week - get involved and volunteer

On the 18th of September, the team at the Garden Route Botanical Gardens in George hosted a day of tree planting – honouring the gift that mother nature extends to us in the form of trees by planting trees. 

Precious Tree Project, in collaboration with Jon Morley’s Tour de Burn project, donated a range of indigenous forest trees and Keurboom seeds on the day to assist them with their passionate restoration and reforestation efforts. Our enthusiastic team of volunteers joined in with those of the Botanical Gardens to plant out 143 precious trees on the day. Thank you!

Happy Arbour Week!

If you would like to sponsor an indigenous forest tree, click here to visit our online tree shop.

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Tree Medicines of the Garden Route: Wild Olive

Tree Medicines of the Garden Route - Wild Olive - Precious Tree Project NPO

Scientific name: Olea europaea L. subsp. africana (Mill.) P.S.Green.
Family: Oleaceae.
Common names: Wild Olive, Olienhout (Afr.), Mohlware (N-Sotho, S-Sotho), Umnquma (Zulu, Xhosa, Swati), Mutlhwari (Venda), Motlhware (Tswana).

The Wild Olive tree is found in a variety of different natural habitats, more often near water, rocky hillsides, on stream banks and in woodland areas in South Africa. Its scientific name is derived from Latin – olea meaning “olive”, europaea meaning “from Europe” and africana meaning “from Africa”.

There are four known species of the oleaceae family in South Africa and the Wild Olive is a sub-species of the commercial olive tree. Evergreen, drought resistant and highly resistant to disease, the Wild Olive is regarded as one of the hardiest of the indigenous tree species found naturally occurring in the Garden Route.

Notes:

a. Bear in mind when harvesting any indigenous tree to do so sustainably. Different trees and different parts of a tree have their own harvesting methods and periods throughout the year. The South African National Biodiversity Institute has informative harvesting tips on their website (SANBI link below).

b. As with any medication, when using plants for their medicinal values it is recommended that you seek professional guidance from a natural health practitioner and undertake appropriate research before use.

For additional information on germination, propagation, ecology, maintenance, etc. of indigenous SA trees, go to: www.sanbi.org.za

Click here if you would like to sponsor a Wild Olive and help grow a mini forest!

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Tree Medicines of the Garden Route: Camphor Bush

Tree Medicines of the Garden Route - Camphor Bush - Precious Tree Project NPO
Tree Medicines of the Garden Route - Camphor Bush - Precious Tree Project NPO

Scientific name: Tarchonanthus camphoratus L.
Family: Asteraceae.
Common names: Camphor Bush (English), Wildekanferbos (Afrikaans), Moologa (Venda), Mofahlana (S.Sotho), Igqeba Emlimhlophe (Zulu), Mofathla (Tsonga).

The heavily scented Tarchonanthus camphoratus is a semi-deciduous small tree that grows mostly in large uniform groups, with the tendency to grow larger and more dense when in the presence of other trees. It is widely distributed in a variety of habitats – including forests, thickets of bushveld, grassland and semi-desert regions – across southern parts of Africa, from the southern Cape to Kenya. Drought resistant and fast growing, the Camphor Bush is heavily relied on by game as a source of food in extremely dry periods.

Notes:

a. Bear in mind when harvesting any indigenous tree to do so sustainably. Different trees and different parts of a tree have their own harvesting methods and periods throughout the year. The South African National Biodiversity Institute has informative harvesting tips on their website (SANBI link below).

b. As with any medication, when using plants for their medicinal values it is recommended that you seek professional guidance from a natural health practitioner and undertake appropriate research before use.

For additional information on germination, propagation, ecology, maintenance, etc. of indigenous SA trees, go to: www.sanbi.org.za

Click here if you would like to sponsor a Camphor Bush and help grow a mini forest!

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Expanding the Wildlife Corridors

PTP Shamboh Wildlife Corridor - Expanding the Wildlife Corridors

One of the incredible benefits of planting out bio-mimicked forest patches and assisting the reforestation process of the indigenous forests in the Garden Route region is the value this brings to our wildlife, particularly i.t.o assisting their survival rates.  As one of the few natural forest biomes in South Africa, our Garden Route forests are home to many species of our four-legged wildlife:  the region is a well-known haven to the Knysna elephant, rooikat, leopard, bushbuck, vervet monkeys, porcupines, baboons, etc. Not to mention the bird, reptile and insect populations that thrive when the forests are healthy. A haven is more than a safe space for our circulating wildlife, it is also a fundamental ongoing source of food for them, from the forest trees themselves and from the forest floors.

Factors including the rapid increase of human activity and development in the area, climate change, the uncontrolled spread of highly invasive non-indigenous trees (which themselves compete for water amongst themselves) all have had a negative impact on our local forests – and therefore on the territory in which our wildlife naturally roam, breed and feed.

Re-establishing and protecting wildlife corridors is a key component of our reforestation efforts and between April and August this year, in slow, regulated lockdown-motion, we got stuck in with small groups of volunteers at a time and took on the task of rehabilitating a site that is regularly traversed by troops of baboons, vervet monkeys, by bushbuck, porcupines and a rooikat. The task is one of both clearing the invasive wattle and blackwood trees that have infiltrated the site from the neighbouring state owned property and then planting out a range of endemic tree species in the spaces that were cleared. And so the assisted reforestation and natural regeneration of the forest floors begin …

Thank you to all donors for their contributions that make projects like this possible  – we planted out over 100 precious trees to grow the wildlife corridor, which included outeniqua yellowwood, boekenhout, forest elder, cape chestnut, cape beech and keurbooms.

And thank you to all our enthusiastic VIP’s who pitched in (as and when regulations allowed) and got their hands dirty!  A much needed grounding reconnection to mother earth in a year when being outdoors and in nature has been sorely needed!

If you would like to support our ongoing efforts of assisted regeneration of our forest biome, click here to sponsor trees!

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Tree Medicines of the Garden Route: Wild Peach

Tree Medicines of the Garden Route - Wild Peach - Precious Tree Project NPO

Scientific name: Kiggelaria africana L.
Family: Achariaceae.
Common names: Wild Peach, Wildeperske (Afr.), umKokoko (Xhosa), uMunwe (Zulu), Monepenepe (North Sotho), Lekgatsi (South Sotho), Muphatavhafu (Venda).

The Wild Peach is endemic to coastal and inland forests, bushveld and woodland areas and along streams & rocky hillsides. It is widely distributed in Africa, from the Western Cape in the south to Kenya in the north. This is the only observed species of Kiggelaria in South Africa.

This peach of a tree is not a peach tree of the edible-fruit kind for us humans. While its leaves are superficially similar to the Prunus persica, the flowers are vastly different. The tiny, bell-shaped flowers of the Wild Peach – in bloom from spring to summer – are yellow-green, whereas the Prunus persica have pink flowers. The hard, greenish-yellow capsule of the Kiggelaria Africana splits when dry to expose shiny black seeds enclosed in an oily, sticky orange-red coating.

Note:

a. Bear in mind when harvesting any indigenous tree to do so sustainably. Different trees and different parts of a tree have their own harvesting methods and periods throughout the year. The South African National Biodiversity Institute has informative harvesting tips on their website (SANBI link below)

b. As with any medication, when using plants for their medicinal values it is recommended that you seek professional guidance from a natural health practitioner and undertake appropriate research before use.

For additional information on germination, propagation, ecology, maintenance, etc. of indigenous SA trees, go to: www.sanbi.org.za

Click here if you would like to sponsor a Wild Peach and help grow a mini forest!