A Brief History of Arbor Day

Posted by on August 9, 2016

NationalArborWeekPosterArbor Day originated in 1872 in the United States territory of Nebraska. Mr. J. Sterling Morton, a newcomer to the treeless plains of Nebraska, was a keen proponent of the beauty and benefit of trees. He persuaded the local agricultural board to set aside a day for planting trees and through his position as editor of Nebraska’s first newspaper, encouraged participation in the event by publishing articles on the value of trees for soil protection, fruit, shade and building. Mr. Morton’s home, known as Arbor Lodge, was a testament to his love for trees and so inspired the name of the holiday; Arbor Day. Within two decades Arbor Day was celebrated in every US State and territory, and eventually spread around the world. The tradition continues annually in the second week of August, in global acknowledgment of Mr. Morton’s slogan, “other holidays repose upon the past; Arbor Day proposes for the future.” In South Africa, Arbor Day was first celebrated in 1983. The event captured the imagination of people who recognised the need for raising awareness of the value of trees in our society. As sources of building material, food, medicine, and simple scenic beauty, trees play a vital role in the health and well-being of our communities. Collective enthusiasm for the importance of this issue in South Africa inspired the national government, in 1999, to extend the celebration of Arbor Day to National Arbor Week. From 1 to 7 September every year, schools, businesses and organisations are encouraged to participate in community “greening” events to improve the health and beauty of the local environment and propose a green future for South Africa.

2016

Ficus thonningii   Afrikaans (gewone wurgvy); English (strangler fig,common wild).  Not SANBI listed as occurring in South Africa. Also not listed on ‘figweb’ Checklist of South African Ficus

Distribution: Tropical Africa – Senegal to Ethiopia, given the uncertainty about delimitation of the species it is not feasible to depict an accurate distributional range.

 

Maerua cafra Common bush-cherry, Gewone witbos

Endemism                   Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution                   Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West

 

Maerua angolensis Bead- bean tree, Knoppiesboontjieboom  KZN, Mpumalanga, Limpopo

Endemism                    Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution                    KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West

2017

Ziziphus mucronata Hairy buffalo-thorn, Harige blinkblaar wag-n-bietjie  Country wide except W.Cape, S.Cape &

Endemism                           Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution                              Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern                               Cape, North West

 

Euclea pseudobenus  (Ebony tree, Ebbeboom)

Endemism                 Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution                Northern Cape

2018

Genus Podocarpus  (Yellowwoods, Geelhoutbome)

P. elongatus, (Breëriviergeelhout, Westelike Geelhout)

Endemism                 South African endemic
Provincial distribution                 Western Cape
Range                 Bokkeveld Mountains to Swellendam.

 

P. falcatus, (Outeniqua yellowwood)

Endemism                 Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution                 Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo,  Mpumalanga, Western Cape

 

P.henkelii, (Henkel’s yellowwood )

Endemism                 South African endemic
Provincial distribution                 Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal
Range                 Southern Drakensberg to Gauteng.

 

P.latifolius (Real yellowwood)

Endemism                            Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution                            Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal,  Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern                                  Cape, Western Cape

 

Boscia albitrunca  (Shepherd’s tree, Witgat)

Endemism                Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution                Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West

2019

Sclerocarya birrea  (Marula Maroela)

Endemism                     Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution                     Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West

 

Philenoptera violacea  (Apple-leaf, Appelblaar)

Endemism               South African endemic
Provincial distribution               Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga

 2020

Ekebergia capensis   (Cape ash  Essenhout)

Endemism               Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution               Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo,  Mpumalanga

 

Adansonia digitata  (Baobab, Kremetart)

Endemism               Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution               Limpopo

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