In less favourable conditions, the Tree Fuchsia is a small tree, but at Ferncliffe, it becomes something entirely different. Individuals in the pilot project area are impressive in height and in July 2021 their flowers covered the forest floor like leaf litter. These blossoms are orange to dark red tubes that grow directly from branches and trunk.
According to Sanbi’s PlantZAfrica, in Zulu culture the Tree Fuchsia is used to protect against evil. The twigs are burnt when offering sacrifices to the ancestors. “Plants are set alight each year, the ashes mixed with crocodile fat and this mixture is smeared onto cuttings of Rhamnus prinoides which are then driven into the ground around the village to protect the community from wizardry and lightning.”