Tag Archives: Medicinal plants

Calpurnia aurea – Yellow keurboom. featured tree at Towerkop Nursery.

Calpurnia1

Calpurnia aurea being attended to by a pollinator. This small evergreen tree is indigenous to the eastern cape, natal and gauteng provinces of South Africa. It grows to 4m. It is fast growing and produces yellow pea-like flowers from 2yrs, making it the ideal ‘instant’ tree. It can be pruned into a compact shape and is frost tolerant.

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Helichrysum cymosum – Feature plant at Towerkop Nursery.

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Helichrysum cymosum 

Related to everlastings, this perrenial shrub volunteered on the allotment at Towerkop nursery. It grows to a metre high and flowers profusely from spring well into summer.

Occurs naturally on sandy slopes in damp places from the southwestern cape to Mpumalanga.

Tecoma flowering now at Towerkop Nursery.

Tecoma

This popular garden shrub attracts birds and butterflies to it’s tubular flowers, especially sunbirds!

It makes an effective hedge when trimmed but bushes out if left natural. Farmer’s encourage it’s growth along fences where it is kept in check by grazing animals.

Also called Cape honeysuckle, it is widely cultivated and very easy to propagate from cuttings or root suckers or runners.

It likes semi-shade to full sun, is drought tolerant and should be pruned back in late winter to encourage new growth.

The species occurs naturally in South Africa, Swaziland and southern Mozambique.

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s award of garden merit.

Plant with Plumbago.

 

Stapelia gariepensis – Flowering now at Towerkop Nursery.

stapelia

Found in stony places and drier areas of the Karoo and Namaqualand in South Africa. The starfish-like flowers mimic the odour of rotting flesh, to attract the carrion flies that pollinate them.

Nice to look at though !

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Seedpod and seeds of Stapelia gariepensis.

Featured plant at Towerkop Nursery.

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Carrion Flower – Orbea variegata. Native to the Southwestern and southern cape of South Africa.

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Today John the Farmer is processing mustard seed

Mustard

Bulbinella (Bulbine frutescens). Featured plant at Towerkop Nursery.

Bulbine

Bulbine

Bulbine frutescens

 

Common Names: Afrikaans: balsemkopiva, copaiba, geelkatstert, katstert

 

English: snake flower, cat’s tail, burn jelly plant, stalked bulbine, grass aloe

 

Description:

 

There are over 50 species of bulbine, and many are used by our traditional herbalists including B.

 

asphodeloides (wildekopiva), B. alooides (rooistorm), B. narcissifolia (geelslangkop), B. natalensis

 

(rooiwortel), and B. latifolia.

 

Bulbine frutescens is an aloe-like succulent plant with a rosette of long, fleshy, yellow-green 

 

leaves. Long flower stems bear elongated clusters of small, yellow-orange flowers with

 

characteristically fluffy stamens.

 

 

 

This is a popular, waterwise garden plant, especially when planted en masse as a ground cover, or in rock gardens. It is also cultivated for its medicinal properties.

 


It is a fast growing, branched, succulent perennial with fleshy, linear green leaves in opposite rows and clasping the stems at the base. It forms spreading clumps with greyish stems often bearing adventitious roots. The small 6-petaled star shaped flowers are carried on an upright, spreading raceme during spring (or occasionally at other times). The petals are either yellow or sometimes orange, which combines attractively with the fluffy yellow stamens to give a bi-coloured look. The fruit is a small, rounded capsule and contains black seeds which are dispersed by wind.

 

Bulbine frutescens occurs widespread throughout parts of Northern Cape, Western and Eastern Cape; however, it reaches its peak in the succulent-rich, dry valleys of Eastern Cape.

 

Medicinal Properties:

 

Bulbine frutescens is one of nature’s extraordinary medicinal plants, a first-aid pharmacy in one

 

The fresh leaf produces a jelly-like juice that is wonderful for burns, rashes, blisters, insect bites, cracked lips, acne, cold sores, mouth ulcers and areas of cracked skin.

 

 

 

An infusion is made of a few fresh leaves in a cup of boiling water. The strained drink is taken for coughs, colds and arthritis.

 

 

 

Cultivation:

 

This is a an easy to grow, waterwise, floriferous groundcover, which with the minimum of care, will look good all year round. It combines beautifully with blue dwarf agapanthus, flowering at the same time. It does well and looks good in medium to large pots. Will cascade over edges. May need some pruning to keep tidy.

 

 

 

Bulbine frutescens likes full sun but they will also grow in semi-shade for part of the day and can thrive with very little water. Resistant to drought, heat and frost it can be grown easily anywhere, including a windowsill or a pot on the balcony. It thrives in almost any soil, even where little else grows. Space plants 20-30cm apart. This succulent perennial multiplies rapidly. The dead flower heads should be removed to encourage further flowering.

 

 

 

Propagation:

 

 

 

Propogation is best done in Spring. Easy from seed or from cuttings and division of clumps. Any piece with a bit of stem will root quickly. The cuttings can be planted immediately and kept in a shady area. They do not need any special attention or treatment, and build strong roots in a couple of months.

 

 

 

Bulbine frutescens will thrive with a little compost and a watering once a week or so. Will flower almost year round but is mostly dormant in summer, blooming in the spring, and then again in autumn, attracting an abundance of bees.