My Ruttyruspolia (semi-deciduous shrub, family acanthaceae) is currently flowering. It has scrambled into a nearby coral tree and the flowers are hanging down between the branches, in great swoops.
This tree was growing in my garden when we moved in. Someone told me it was indigenous but I don’t have its proper name and couldn’t source it in any of my books.
It has a thick, rough bark, thin leaves and long, pod-shaped seeds, but what I really like about it are its flowers. They are light, candy-striped and kinda Japanese. Also, the seeds are really easy to germinate and I am growing a bonsai version of it.
Does anyone know what it is called and where it is from?
I was taking a photograph of a Wild Garlic (tulbaghia violacea or isihaqa) flower this morning and a bee flew into the shot as I took the photograph. Pretty cool.
I never knew this little guy was an aloe – although now that I think about it the red/orange flowers are very similar to the other, larger aloes I have.
Its official name is aloe aristata and they were first ‘discovered’ in the Drakensburg in KwaZulu-Natal, but their habitat stretches from the eastern Karoo to the Eastern Cape to Lesotho. They have thick, juicy leaves with small spines on them which form a rosette (the leaves, not the spines).
I’ve always grown these in pots which would explain why they have remained quite small. I think I will set one ‘free’ in my garden to see how big it gets.
A recent study in the Eastern Cape has highlighted the fact that the humble spekboom (or ‘elephant’s food’ as it is also known) has an amazing ability to soak up CO2, equivalent to that of sub-tropical forests. Findings suggest that up to four tons of carbon a year would be captured by each hectare. This is apparently making a lot of people excited about how much it could be worth on the carbon-trading market but I’m excited about how an indigenous South African plant could potentially be so valuable in turning back the tide of global warming. Also, it raises the issue of what uses our other indigenous plants could have, that we have yet to discover.
And I’ve got it in my garden. I currently have five plants, all grown from one cutting I took from my friend Em’s house in Salt Rock. So, if anyone wants some (and lives in Durban), let me know and you can come and break off a branch.