Indigenous trees with interesting bark

Each tree offers something unique and there are so many trees with stunning characteristics. When choosing a tree, remember that the bark can be a striking focal point. Whether peeling, patchy, colourful, shiny or dull, bark is an asset.

When you plant trees with an ornamental bark, think of positioning them against a backdrop of evergreens which will help to show off their bark, especially in winter. Including one or more trees with showy bark in your garden will help create a landscape with year-round interest.

Here are some indigenous trees to consider for their noteworthy bark. All are good choices for specimens or focal points in the garden. Most become more ornamental as they mature over time. Some can get quite large, so consider their full-grown size before planting.

Initially the bark of this semi-deciduous tree is smooth and plan in tawny silver hues with darker grey patches and a papery grain. As the tree matures, the bark develops a rich texture and flakes off in large scales, leaving craggy apricot coloured patches.


heteropyxis natalensis

The bark of this large tree is light brown or greyish-yellow. It is corky and often peels in papery strips and flakes.



The bark is reddish-brown to purplish-brown with a smooth, somewhat waxy appearance. It peels in fine papery rings.



This thickset tree has a grey, thick and corky bark which bears longitudinal fissures.



A reddish-brown bark that flakes off in strips.



Grey, mottled bark smooth in younger plants and rough as it ages.



Creamy-brown to dark grey-brown twisting bark with longitudinal furrows.



This large tree has a very characteristic, smooth, slightly flaking, greenish-yellow bark. It is often described as sickly or sinister.


fever tree