Plants of the Week

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E.g., 02/10/2023
E.g., 02/10/2023

Muraltia heisteria

Growing near Hout Bay, Cape peninsula.
Common names: spiky purple gorse (Eng.); kastybos, persblommetjie (Afr.)
Family: Polygalaceae

Muraltia heisteria is unknown to many people, yet it has so much potential as a garden plant, bringing colour, texture and charm to the garden. It...

15 / 01 / 2007 | Marga Den Hartigh | Kirstenbosch NBG
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Myrothamnus flabellifolius

Leaves. Image A dreyer
Common names: resurrection plant (Eng.); opstandingsplant (Afr.); uvukakwabafile (isiZulu); umazifisi (Ndebele)
Family: Myrothamnaceae

The leaves of the resurrection plant shrink and appear to be dead in the dry season, but miraculously turn green within a few minutes after exposure to...

18 / 11 / 2013 | Mandisa Kondlo | Walter Sisulu NBG
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Myrsine africana

Berries of M africana
Common names: Cape myrtle, African boxwood (Eng.); vlieëbos, mirting (Afr.); moroko-pheleu, semapo, sethakhisa, thakisa (Southern Sotho)?
Family: Myrsinaceae

This small shrub found in the wild from the Cape through tropical Africa to Asia, is a tough plant with attractive foliage and fruit, attracts birds and...

18 / 07 / 2005 | Liesl Van der Walt | Kirstenbosch NBG
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Mystacidium capense

Mystacidium capense
Common names: iphamba (Zulu)
Family: Orchidaceae

This delicate epiphytic orchid, a mini plant with maxi roots is covered in a mass of white flowers at the beginning of summer....

02 / 12 / 2002 | B Tarr | KwaZulu-Natal NBG
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Mystroxylon aethiopicum

Mystroxylon aethiopicum: Photo: Geoff Nichols
Common names: kooboo-berry, spoonwood (Eng.); koeboebessie, lepelboom, lepelhout (Afr.); umbomvane, umgxube, umnqayi (Xhosa); monamane (Northern Sotho); mukwatikwat
Family: Celastraceae

Mystroxylon aethiopicum is an attractive evergreen tree that is useful as an ornamental garden tree, planted as a hedge, in groups or solitary and...

10 / 10 / 2005 | Mhlonishwa D Dlamini | Walter Sisulu NBG
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Macaranga capensis

Macaranga capensis in flower (Geoff Nichols).
Common names: river macaranga, false-poplar, spiny macaranga, wild-poplar (Eng.); riviermakaranga, valspopulier, wildepopulier (Afr.); umbengele, umphumelezi, umphu
Family: Euphorbiaceae

A perfect feature plant for a tropical garden, Macaranga capensis is also used medicinally for various ailments, and it attracts bees and birds to the...

27 / 03 / 2017 | M.S. Mothogoane | National Herbarium Pretoria
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Metrosideros angustifolia

Metrosideros angustifolia flowers
Common names: Cape-gum, lance-leaved ironheart (Eng.); smalblad, smalblaar (Afr.)
Family: Myrtaceae

At first glance this plant creates an alert reaction in the keen Fynbos enthusiast, as it bears a resemblance to  some South African weeds. However,...

28 / 09 / 2015 | Megan Blatchford | Kirstenbosch NBG
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Mesembryanthemum crystallinum

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum
Common names: common ice plant, crystalline ice plant, rosa de jericho (Eng.); brakslaai, brakvy, noeta, olifantslaai, slaai, slaaibos, slaaibossie, soutslaai, vols
Family: Aizoaceae

This is an extremely stress-tolerant, prostrate, succulent annual with distinctive, glistening bladder cells on its leaves and stems, that look like ice...

15 / 07 / 2019 | Sinikeziwe Ncaphayi | Kirstenbosch NBG
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Merwilla plumbea

Merwilla plumbea
Common names: wild squill, blue squill, blue hyacinth, blouberglelie, blouslangkop, inguduza
Family: Hyacinthaceae

Merwilla plumbea is a graceful perennial bulb, and with its tall plumes of blue flowers, the showiest of the South African scillas. Merwilla plumbea is...

22 / 10 / 2001 | Alice Notten | Kirstenbosch NBG
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Marasmodes trifida

Marasmodes trifida
Common names: trifid autumn-aster
Family: Asteraceae

This little known and not so beautiful plant is highly threatened; it is easily identifiable from other members of the genus by its leaves that split into...

05 / 08 / 2019 | Naomi Mdayi | Millennium Seed Bank Partnership
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Macowania revoluta

Macowania revoluta (Nicola Bergh)
Common names: Amathole macowania
Family: Asteraceae

Macowania revoluta is the particular species to which the defining features of the genus Macowania is formally attached. This easily distinguished shrub...

01 / 05 / 2017 | Vathiswa Zikishe | CREW
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Melianthus villosus

Melianthus villosus
Common names: maroon honey flower, Drakensberg honey flower (Eng.); Drakensbergse kruidjie-roer-my-nie (Afr.); ibhonya (Zulu)
Family: Melianthaceae

A multi-stemmed, soft, evergreen shrub, with showy, serrated leaves that provide a beautiful tropical effect in the garden....

05 / 06 / 2017 | Samuel Lekhetho | Free State NBG
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Monsonia vanderietiae

Monsonia vanderietiae
Common names: Albany bushman’s candle, Albany candle bush (Eng.), Albany boesmankers, grootkersbos (Afr.); igcegceleya, igceya (isiXhosa)
Family: Geraniaceae

A beautiful, stunted, low growing, tough-looking perennial with shiny leaves, succulent greyish stems and large, delicate-looking, creamy white flowers...

17 / 01 / 2022 | Nomama Mei | Kwelera NBG
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Maurocenia frangula

Tree in flower
Common names: bittersweet-cherry, Hottentot's cherry, vulture berry, nastergalkersie, hottentotskersie, aasvoelbessie (Afr.)
Family: Celastraceae

Maurocenia frangula provides interest throughout the year; with its scarlet, new growth in winter, bright cerise edible berries in autumn, and its decorative,...

17 / 11 / 2014 | Melissa Van der Burg | Kirstenbosch NBG
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Melasphaerula graminea

Melasphaerula graminea
Common names: fairy bells (Eng.); baardmannetjie, bokbaardjie, feeklokkie (Afr.)
Family: Iridaceae

This attractive, winter-growing, bulbous plant, with its lax sprays of half-nodding, long lasting, grass-like flowers, is ideal for hanging baskets....

25 / 11 / 2019 | Shireen Harris | Karoo Desert NBG
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Monilaria chrysoleuca

Monilaria chrysoleuca
Common names: string of pearls, pea mesemb (Eng.); ertjievygie (Afr.)
Family: Aizoaceae

An eye-catching succulent with unusual jointed stems that resemble a beaded necklace, and leaves that sparkle in sunlight....

28 / 08 / 2017 | R Powell | Compton Herbarium
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Manulea tomentosa

Manulea tomentosa
Common names: woolly manulea (Eng.); duine vingertjies (Afr.)
Family: Scrophulariaceae

This is a perennial herb that can blossom in the seedling stage. It has grey, woolly, fleshy leaves, conspicuous finger-like heads of brownish yellow or...

30 / 12 / 2019 | Wanga Ncise | Kirstenbosch NBG
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Muraltia spinosa

Muraltia spinosa
Common names: tortoise berry (Eng.); skilpadbessie, duinebessie, bokbessie (Afr.); mmaba (Tswana); cargoe (Nama)
Family: Polygalaceae

The tortoise berry is a striking plant when covered in its masses of dainty purple flowers. Attractive and unusual spiny foliage, pretty red edible fruits...

05 / 09 / 2005 | Cherise Viljoen | Kirstenbosch NBG
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Muraltia scoparia

Muraltia scoparia
Common names: tortoise berry, dune berry (Eng.); skilpadbessie, duinebessie (Afr.)
Family: Polygalaceae

Identifying the species Muraltia spinosa and M. scoparia (formerly in the genus Nylandtia) using herbarium material only, can be misleading, as the habit...

07 / 11 / 2005 | Christien Bredenkamp | Pretoria NBG
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Monoculus monstrosus

Common names: one-eye monster (Eng.); trekkertjie (Afr.).
Family: Asteraceae

This plant is now called Osteospermum monstrosum (Burm.f.) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt...

11 / 07 / 2022 | | Pretoria NBG
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