Searsia divaricata – Fire thorn Karee, Common Currant-rhus

 

Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Searsia divaricata Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Searsia divaricata Plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve Searsia divaricata

 

Searsia divaricata (known as the Rusty-leaved Currant or Mountain Kuni-bush in English, Berg-koeniebos in Afrikaans or kolitsana in Sisotho), is a shrub with multiple stems that grows up to 3 m tall.  The word divaricata is translated as spreading in English and refers to the spread of its branches. This shrub grows among rocky outcrops and cliff bases. This currant reaches the highest altitude of any currant at up to 2750 m A.S.L and occurs from the Eastern Cape through to Gauteng.

The leaflets are somewhat leathery, a dark olive green above, with grey-green to redish-brown hairs below. The margins are slightly rolled under and the leaf apex varies from flat to pointed.  Leaf sisez vary from 28 mm long by 13 mm wide to 51 mm long by 28 mm wide in adults.  The flowers are often red-brown and grow in small sprays (up to 30 mm long) on the leaf axis in January. . The midrib and the secondary veins are conspicuous and raised below. The fruit are very small (3 – 5 mm) and are reddish-brown, round and glossy when mature. Expect to find them from October – January.

Human uses

Traditionally the heartwood has been used for making “knopkierries” and has its uses in the sisotho culture as one of several plants that is believed to induce rain during traditional rain-making ceremonies.

Medicinal

The leaves are dried and crushed and then smoked as a means of alleviating symptoms of coughs and colds.

Conservation Status:

Classified as of Least Concern (LC) according to CITES database.