Leucosidea sericea

Botanical name

Leucosidea sericea

Other names

Oldwood; ouhout (Afrikaans); umtshitshi (Zulu)




A straggling shrub or a small, evergreen tree of around 4 m in height, occasionally reaching 7 m; multistemmed and may become 5 m wide

Description of stem

Brown flaking bark on irregular and gnarled trunks, young branches have hairy stipules remaining on them

Description of leaves

Alternate, compound with about four pairs of leaflets as well as a terminal one; dark green on top, lower surface greyish and covered in silky hairs; leaflets obovate; margins serrated, tend to curl inward from the sides; the leaf veins are markedly sunken on the upper surface

Description of flowers

Clustered in terminal sprays, five yellow to light-green petals, appearing in spring into summer

Desciption of seed/fruit

Clusters of small fruits at the flower base

Description of roots




Propagation and cultivation

Grows from seed or cuttings, hardy and fast-growing


Frost resistant


Firewood; a paste from the leaves is said to be used in the treatment of ophthalmia in Kwazulu-Natal; browsed by livestock and game; planted in gardens as hedges and as bonsai

Ecological rarity

Common, may invade in areas where soil neglect has occurred

Pests and diseases





Occurring on grassy slopes, in bushkloofs and along river banks

Distribution (SA provinces)

Eastern Cape, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng and North West


South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe