Common Name: Ouhout; Zulu: umtshitshi; Sotho: cheche
Before the grasslands midlands were settled by Europeans, there were few trees besides those clustered in damp or rocky places. One of the original Midlands trees was Leucosidea serica. A real pioneer and found is a variety of places – grassand, forest edges, stream banks and rocky ridges and is particularly dominant in over grazed areas. Shrubby and not very tall (seldom higher than 6m) it often looks weather beaten and bent by the wind.
Small yellowish-green star like flowers are borne in sprays on the ends of branches.
Very attractive toothed, grey green compound leaves are aromatic and the silver hairs on the edges shine in sunlight. The trunk is gnarled, bark is rough and flaky. Ouhout dislikes a hot summer and is very frost resistant, making it an excellent fast growing pioneer plant for a cold new garden. Birds often nest in the branches. Young leaves browsed by bushbuck. Small nuts are enclosed in the base of old flowers.
Ouhout makes excellent firewood as it burns very slowly, and it is great for woodcarving too. Traditionally used to make the framework for sleds to carry grass, fuel or harvest. In mountainous areas the presence of Leocosidea was taken as an indication that streams were suitable for trout stocking.