601. Common Guarri, Small-leaved Guarri Euclea undulata
Order: Ericales. Family: Ebenaceae
Marakele National ParkDescription Euclea undulata
is a very sturdy, evergreen, dense and twiggy shrub to small tree reaching an approximate size of 7 m in height and very often with an equal width. The bushy and rounded appearance of the trees is due to the numerous branches that carry the closely packed leaves on stems that often reach ground level, giving an appearance of large dark green mounds or domes in the landscape. Several specimens commonly grow closely together, and in such cases they can form impenetrable thickets, as is often the case in their southern to coastal distribution range.
The leaves are opposite to subopposite or may be arranged in whorls of 3 or 4, mostly towards the ends of branchlets. Leaves are small, obovate to narrowly elliptical, 20–40 x 5–15 mm, stiff, leathery, dark green or blue-green above, paler below and sometimes rusty brown. The leaf apex is broadly tapering, or rounded to abruptly attenuate, base tapering, margin entire, finely rolled under, conspicuously wavy, or almost flat; petiole 1–3 mm long.
The bark is grey, scaly longitudinally fissured or cracked, particularly with age. The branchlets are twiggy, angular and densely leafy with short internodes
Flowers are small, whitish to cream, carried on unbranched 5- to 7-flowered spikes of up to 20 mm length, hairless but with rust-coloured stalked glands. The spikes are solitary in the leaf axils and are somewhat scented, appearing from December to May.
Fruits appear from February and are single-seeded rounded berries, 4–7 mm in diameter, thinly fleshy, reddish brown becoming dark when ripe, in short sprays less than 12 mm long. In adult plants flowers and fruits commonly occur simultaneously, resulting in prolonged presence of fruit or flowers or both for most of the year.Distribution
The species is found widespread over southern Africa, especially in South Africa (Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, Western Cape), Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia.Habitat
It favours open rocky slopes, low hills with valleys, open mopane/acacia woodland, watercourses and areas with frequent or scattered termite mounds commonly referred to as heuweltjies' (little hills). In South Africa these trees can be found almost throughout the country with the exception of the central interior associated with high altitude habitats. it is generally associated with rocky rather than deep sandy habitats. This fact, rather than the altitude, is probably the main reason why the species is absent in parts of the Kalahari with deep sand.
Links: Sappi Tree Spotting: Kwazulu-Natal and Eastern Cape. Val Thomas, Rina Grant