For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Silver Terminalia (Terminalia sericae)

Terminalia belong to the Combretum (Combretaceae) family and are widespread in Africa. Of them all, the Silver Terminalia has to be the most beautiful and because of the silver leaves which it gets its name from and is probably the most easily recognizable of them all.

They are usually 4-6m (12-18 feet) in height and prefer sandy soil. The flowers do not have a pleasant smell however but  the red seed pods make this tree very attractive.

Among African peoples this tree has a wide variety of uses. A decoction of the bitter roots is not only taken for diarrhoea and to relieve colic, but is also applied as an eyewash. A hot infusion of the roots’ outer layers makes a fomentation for treating pneumonia. A glucoside, nerifolin, has been isolated from parts of the plant and this has been found to have an effect on the heart and pulse rate.
 The silky, silvery leaf hairs are used by potters for glazing their wares. The hard yellow wood provides a useful general purpose timber for furniture and fence posts.

Good crops are ensured at harvest time and planting time by thrusting a stick into the floor in homage to ancestral spirits but to cut down a whole tree is believed to bring hail storms.

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