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    Local Information

    Indigenous Gardening

    Why indigenous?

    By planting indigenous species you are making a big contribution towards protecting the biodiversity of the Kloof area.

    Biodiversity (biological diversity) is the variety of life and its processes. It includes the variety of organisms, the genetic differences among them, the communities and ecosystems in which they occur, and the ecological and evolutionary processes that keep them functioning, yet ever changing and adapting. This includes all species (including humans), habitats and ecosystems and the connections between these. It is known that biodiversity provides us with essential ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are the benefits provided by healthy ecosystems to all living organisms. There is growing recognition of the value of ecosystem services to human well-being in terms of health, social, cultural and economic needs. Source: eThekwini State of Biodiversity report – 2011-2012

    “Ecosystems, whose functioning depends on biodiversity, provide the basic necessities of life (e.g., food, clean water and air), offer protection from natural disasters and disease (e.g., by regulating climate, floods and pests), and shape human cultures and spiritual beliefs. Besides those provisioning, regulating and cultural services they provide, ecosystems also support and maintain life processes such as biomass production and nutrient cycling (supporting services) which are essential to human well-being.

    Out of the 24 ecosystem services that make direct contributions to human well-being, 15 are in decline.

    The impact of humans on the natural environment is significant and growing, causing changes in biodiversity that have been more rapid in the past 50 years than at any time before in human history. As demographic pressures and consumption levels increase, biodiversity decreases, and the ability of the natural world to continue delivering the goods and services on which humanity ultimately depends may be undermined.

    Biodiversity loss disrupts the functioning of ecosystems, making them more vulnerable to perturbations and less able to supply humans with needed services. The consequences are often harshest on the rural poor, who depend most immediately upon local ecosystem services for their livelihoods.”  Source: www.greenfacts.org

    The use of indigenous species to either maintain of rehabilitate previously degraded areas is an effective means to protect local biodiversity.

    What is indigenous?

    We do not want to overcomplicate this issue but we would like to encourage residents of Kloof to plant species that occur naturally in the Kloof area. So when we talk about “indigenous” we mean “indigenous to Kloof”. This would include many plants (the majority) that occur in Kloof and may also occur elsewhere in Kwazulu Natal or even further in Southern Africa and it also includes the relatively few, rare and truly endemic plants that are only found in Kloof such as the Streptocarpus molweniensis. Often gardeners take a very broad view on what is indigenous but a Fever Tree is just as exotic to Kloof as an English rose bush.

    Unfortunately we do not have comprehensive information on all the species that are found in Kloof but we do have some reasonable guidelines. Trees in particular are well defined in the Tree List available on this web-site. A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Kwazulu-Natal and the Eastern Region by Elsa Pooley is an excellent guide for shrubs and smaller plants. Visit the local nurseries and get advice on what is indigenous to Kloof – a list of local nurseries that stock indigenous plants is available on this page.

    Kloof Conservancy actively works to encourage the use of indigenous plants in all landscaping. Much work has been done to persuade and convince local authorities to exclusively use indigenous plants in public spaces and good progress has been made in this regard.

    When it comes to private gardens Kloof Conservancy has used the Indigenous Gardens Show to demonstrate to residents what can be achieved and the benefits of indigenous gardening. The move to indigenous gardening can be a gradual process and all resident living close to a nature reserve, on a water-course, adjacent to a park, or on a natural “greenbelt” corridor are encouraged to convert to indigenous planting.


    Ann Mayer has written an interesting article on the Healing Properties of Indigenous Plants.

    Our Kloof Fauna and Flora page has information on gardening for butterflies and how to attract them to your garden, including a list of plants for butterflies.


    Kloof Conservancy encourages residents to try to plant plans that are indigenous to the area and is working to update the list of suitable plants.


    Security is very often an emotional issue and environmental considerations are often “thrown out of the window” when people’s safety is at stake. However some careful planning and wise use of indigenous plants can provide not only excellent security, comparable to most commercial “security barriers” but also an environmentally acceptable and visually pleasing solution.

    Security in your home if a complex issue and you need to take into account many factors including location, lighting, access points, your employment practices and even your movement/travel patterns so the physical barrier (fence) is just one factor. Please avoid electric fences if at all possible – they are lethal to reptiles and small mammals such as bushbabies.

    The creation of “green corridors” to permit wildlife to move from one area to another is a critical element in the long term survival of our indigenous fauna particularly the small mammals that have adapted to urban living such as duiker, mongoose, porcupine and large spotted genets. Fences invariably block green corridors but indigenous hedges are much more flexible and allow the movement of small animals and are always preferable to steel/wire fences.

    The following is a list of indigenous plants that can be used to form impenetrable security barriers which can be used more effectively than for example the Sisal plants which are frequently used for this purpose and which are declared invasive alien plants!

    If you need an urgent or instant barrier then it is often best to erect a fence and plant these plants on both side of the fence – over time the plants will cover the fence and it will become invisible and sections can be removed/cut-open.

    • Carissa macrocarpa (amutungulu)
    • Dovyalis caffra (kei apple)
    • Scutia myrtina (cat thorn)
    • Maytenus heterophyllla (spike thorn)
    • Barleria rotundifolia (lowveld barleria)
    • Asparagus falcatus (yellowwood asparagus)
    • Acacia kraussiana (coast climbing thorn)
    • Carissa edulus
    • Cassinopsis ilicifolia (Lemon Thorn)

    Small thorn trees planted at the corners of a fence act as a further barrier as these trees will literally hold onto anyone who happens to run into them.

    • Acacia nigrescens (Knobwood)
    • Ziziphus mucronata (Buffalo thorn) Acacia karoo (Sweet thorn)

    Garden Club

    There is an active Indigenous Garden Club in Kloof.

    Contact Christine Bubb farfocus@webstorm.co.za


    A number of local nurseries stock indigenous plants and can also offer you good advice.

    You can download a list of Nurseries Stocking Indigenous Plants (these are those known to us – there may be more!)

    DIY Eco-Pesticides

    We have developed a list of some non-toxic recipes for insect and disease control that will turn you into an eco-sangoma.

    Weathered Rock

    The use of weathered rock in garden landscaping is a controversial issue as the sourcing of rocks can be a serious problem resulting in the destruction of habitats and loss of biodiversity.

    Durban Metropolitan Open Space System (D’MOSS)

    eThekwini Municipality has identified areas which have a high biodiversity value and these areas have been marked as part of the Durban Metro Open Space System (D’MOSS).

    D’MOSS aims to conserve local biodiversity and to protect environmental goods and services for the benefit of current and future generations. Kloof Conservancy strongly supports the goals of D’MOSS and encourages all residents with land demarcated as D’MOSS to ensure that the land is rehabilitated and maintained as close as possible to the natural condition for the area.

    Local Information

    Indigenous Gardening