Indigenous Trees and Shrubs of Zambia and their Uses in Landscape Design

The African landscape is characterised by its trees. See a picture of an umbrella shaped acacia and we know immediately that that is Africa.The older streets of Zambian cities and towns are shaded by indigenous trees, planted when the cities were established. These trees give the streets their character. New streets and booming industrial areas have either no trees at all or trees that will not survive future generations. We are aiming to encourage the planting of indigenous trees in parks and  gardens, on  private and public land, down streets and around factories, in graveyards, on farms, on reclaimed land – anywhere and everywhere. 
Indigenous are home grown, they are local, native, occurring naturally in a defined area.
We aim to encourage the use of indigenous trees because indigenous trees

  • Belong in Zambia and are suited to its climate, height, soils and form an important part of the ecosystem, feeding indigenous birds, insects, and animals.
  • Give shape to the rural and urban landscape
  • Are unlikely to topple over after 20 years, nor do they invade like weeds.
  • Provide shade in the garden, on the streets, in car parks and on the farm.
  • Provide lots of colour and interest – flowers, leaves, pods, seeds
  • Attract indigenous insects and birds to the garden
  • Are not as thirsty as their exotic cousins because they are adapted to the climate and can cope with periods of drought
  • In some cases, increases fertility in the soil
  • Can be used for building, boat, medicines, vitamins and food.
  • Can be viewed in their natural habitat


  • Imported exotics are superior to the local product
  • Indigenous trees grow too slowly
  • Do not require water and manure
  • Boring, poor shapes and have no colour
  • Only do well on poor soils.


This website describes some indigenous trees and shrubs found in Zambia, what they look like and where they can usefully be planted.