Monsonia angustifolia Sond.
Common names: Crane's bill; alsbos, angelbossie, teebossie (Afr.), malengoana (Southern Sotho), Tee ya thaba (Sepedi)
Monsonia angustifolia is an annual herb with wavy leaves found in open grasslands and often along roadsides throughout South Africa and tropical Africa.
Monsonia angustifolia is an annual herb that grows up to 0.5 m, although usually shorter. Stems are slightly woody at the base, pubescent and covered with very short gland-tipped hairs among the longer stems. Leaves are narrowly oblong or elliptic. Margins are irregularly toothed with cuneate bases. Flowers are mauve to blue, or rarely white or yellowish. Fruit are held erect, 50-90 mm long.
Monsonia angustifolia is Red Listed as Least Concern.
Distribution and habitat
M. angustifolia is widely distributed in the southern African region where it is found in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia and Mozambique. It usually occurs on granite, often on rocky areas and along the side of roads.
Derivation of name and historical aspects
The genus Monsonia was named after Lady Anne Monson, a botanist and collector of plants and insects. The specific epithet, angustifolia, is Latin meaning narrow-leaved.
Monsonia angustifolia seeds are dispersed by wind and water during rain. Flower colours attract insects and bees for pollination.
M. angustifolia is a traditional herb used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction and for the enhancement of libido. Further information from traditional practitioners indicate that it is used as a sexual stimulant and blood cleanser. It is speculated that it is the plant known as 'Special' used by some religious group members as a blood cleanser. Teebossie is also used to treat medical conditions such as heartburn, anthrax, diarrhoea etc.
Growing Monsonia angustifolia
Monsonia angustifolia grows easily from seed. It is not commonly cultivated as a horticultural plant.
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National Herbarium, Pretoria
Plant Type: Bi/Annual
SA Distribution: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Northern Cape, Western Cape
Soil type: Loam
Flowering season: Spring, Early Summer
Flower colour: Blue, Mauve/Lilac
Aspect: Full Sun
Gardening skill: Average