Leucosidea sericea, or Oldwood, is a small evergreen tree or shrub native to eastern parts of South Africa. In nature, the tree will reach 22 feet (7 m) tall with a 16 foot (5 m) spread. The bark is reddish brown, sometimes peeling to reveal a smooth brown under bark. The dark green compound leaves are covered with silver silky hairs. Each leaf has 3-4 pairs of leaflets which are deeply serrate on the margins. We grow these trees for research purposes. They are very fast growing trees. According to Silver Hill Seeds in South Africa, these trees are hardy in USDA zones 8-10.
Blooming: At 3 years old our trees have yet to bloom.
Culture: Leucosidea sericea need full sun to light shade, with a well drained moist soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 1 part loam to 2 parts coarse sand. In nature the trees grow in damp areas or alongside streams. In container the plant are kept moist at all times. They don’t withstand drought very well in containers. The plants are well watered and fertilized weekly with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ˝ the strength recommended on the label. During the winter months, plants are kept in the cool rooms in our greenhouse where nighttime temperatures fall to 48°F (9°C). During this period, the plants are still kept moist, but fertilizer is not needed during this period.
Propagation: Leucosidea sericea is propagated from cuttings taken in spring or from seed. Seed germinate in 14-21 days after sowing. Seed can be obtained from Silver Hill Seeds in South Africa.
Leucosidea sericea was featured as Plant of the Week February 29-March 6, 2008.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.