Forest Elder

Nuxia floribunda

The Forest Elder is like that over-looked teen who suddenly blossoms: its fragrant heads of small flowers are a lovely sight when you stumble upon it. It’s not fond of dry or very frosty conditions, instead preferring deep soil with a stream nearby for maximum comfort. In return it produces heaps of nectar which feeds many insects, and so insect-eating birds. Some call it the honey tree as a result. The Zulu name umhlambandlazi, says SANBI, translates as ‘mousebird-washer’, hinting at how much they enjoy its bounty.

Ornithologist David Johnson notes that there are ‘some particularly fine specimens to be seen from the road running through Oribi Gorge’. We’ve seen a couple in a watercourse in Deer Park, Table Mountain National Park, so they are fairly widespread in forests across South Africa. The wood is hard, yellow, and was used to build wagons. It’s still a popular medicinal plant, treating ailments from flu to infantile convulsions.


It’s one of the easiest climate crisis mitigation methods we know. Trees absorb and sequester carbon – and indigenous forest is far better at carbon capture than degraded lands or plantations. Trees also provide habitat to incredible living creatures, help purify the air, protect soil from erosion, and protect our water catchments. Never mind offering local residents a rejuvenating space to relax and exercise in.

Yes. They are all species that occur within the reserve itself, or the immediate area surrounding it, including the corridors through the plantations. Trees are grown from seed and cuttings sourced from the area, or purchased from local nurseries or organisations as our nursery grows.

In the Ferncliffe Nature Reserve, in a corridor of indigenous trees, or in an area designated for rehabilitation in conjunction with a landowner. We have full permission to plant from the municipal authorities or relevant landowners.

Once a year for two years. After this period, you can sign up for additional news of your tree for a small annual fee. Our website’s blog will have the latest news, and you can follow us on social media for all the latest progress and sightings.

Physical certificates feature hand-drawn and painted artwork by Connor Cullinan, and are printed on quality A4 paper. Digital certificates look the same as the paper versions, but are issued as PDFs via email. If you’d like to print them yourself, we recommend choosing a matt paper of 250 gsm. Both are designed to be beautiful..

Connor Cullinan is a fine artist with many solo and group shows to his name. He is producing a series of original prints to help Ferncliffe raise funds for its restoration work. The images are based on fauna and flora that can be found in the forest and on its fringes. The images are open editions*, and are signed and dated. The first two prints in the ongoing series are of a porcupine and a forest weaver, and they are produced at Black River Studio in Cape Town, South Africa.

*An open edition print means an unlimited number of prints of the same artwork is sold.

If your order is urgent, please contact us first to see if we’ll be able to deliver on time. We’re a very small team and this system is not automated.

Digital certificates will be sent electronically via email, within three business days, Monday to Friday (excluding RSA public holidays).

Postage of print orders is by courier. We post once a week, however, so please expect the order to take longer than a standard delivery — or contact us to make a plan.

NOTE: 2022-2023 holiday closures: We’ll start processing digital tree certificates again from 27 December 2022.  Print certificates can be posted from 3 January to  noon 4 January 2023, and then there will be a break until 17 January 2023 due to various holiday closures. Thanks for your understanding.


Prints and certificates will be packaged flat, sandwiched between stiff cardboard.

As soon as conditions are right. Generally this means spring and summer, as this is the rainy season and the young trees will need water at first. So your tree may have to wait its turn for a few months before ‘release’ into the wild!

Yes. We are registered as a Public Benefit Organisation, number 93 007 2645, and can issue Section 18A tax certificates on request.



Plant a tree certificate