Quinine Tree

Rauvolfia caffra

These trees surround Ferncliffe forest wilding’s base. Fruit bats squeak from their boughs at night; bees and insects are attracted by the flowers, dangling temptingly down in sprays; and the purplish fruit are gobbled down by everything from turacos to Vervet Monkeys. They are gorgeous when adult, trunks sturdy and firm. There are a handful here that stand dotted along a stream, roots holding banks together and creeping across the earth.

They drop their leaves slowly in winter, covering the forest floor in a crackly protective layer. It also means they can share a dose of winter sun with those species a lot shorter than they are.

Despite the name and the taste of quinine obtained when the bark is scratched, the tree is ineffectual against malaria. Still, parts of the plant are used in traditional medicine for various ailments.  Our youngsters are all from the area and still relatively small, but can grow up to 1.5m a year.


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.


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