Plants of the Week

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Mesembryanthemum varians

Plant in flower
Common names: salt mesemb, skeleton plant (English); soutvygie (Afrikaans)
Family: Aizoaceae

Mesembryanthemum varians was previously known as Sceletium varians. It is known to have few medicinal properties —  unlike Mesembryathemum...

14 / 07 / 2014 | Ricardo Riddles | Karoo Desert NBG
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Monsonia glauca

Monsonia glauca
Common names: dysentery herb (Eng.); naaldebossie, keitabossie, keitabossie (Afr.).
Family: Geraniaceae

This is a perennial herb with a woody base growing in scrubby grassland....

29 / 09 / 2014 | T Masupa | Pretoria NBG
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Moraea polystachya

Moraea polystachya
Common names: bloutulp, kraai-uintjie (Afr.)
Family: Iridaceae

Pretty but dangerous (to live-stock, that is)! In a good year, usually in autumn, the large, deep blue to violet or occasionally white, iris-like flowers...

12 / 06 / 2006 | Clare Archer | National Herbarium Pretoria
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Mackaya bella

Mackaya bella
Common names: forest bell bush, river bell
Family: Acanthaceae

Mackaya bella is a beautiful shrub or small tree with slender branches bearing dark green leaves....

01 / 10 / 2001 | Thompson T Mutshinyalo | Walter Sisulu NBG
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Macledium zeyheri

Macledium zeyher plants
Common names: skaapdissel, maagbitterwortel, maagbossie (Afr.); toy sugar bush, doll's protea (Eng.); mahlabane, somanheva (Swazi); umlunge, umqele (Xhosa); isihlab
Family: Asteraceae

The doll's protea is a strikingly attractive plant found in the grasslands of the eastern parts of South Africa, and used in traditional medicine.  ...

19 / 07 / 2010 | Marinda Koekemoer | Pretoria NBG
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Macrostylis squarrosa

Macrostylis squarrosa shrub
Common names: None recorded
Family: Rutaceae

Macrostylis squarrosa is a very attractive, densely bushy shrub of about 700 mm high. When it flowers in spring and summer, it is dotted with small...

03 / 01 / 2011 | Jean Meyer | National Herbarium Pretoria
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Macrostylis villosa

Macrostylis villosa
Common names: Buchu (Eng.); kousieboegoe (Afr.)
Family: Rutaceae

Macrostylis villosa is a neat compact aromatic shrub producing clusters of white flowers over a long flowering period. Planted together with other...

15 / 04 / 2013 | Victoria Wilman | Millennium Seedbank Project
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Maerua cafra

Common names: Common bush-cherry, White-wood, Witbos
Family: Brassicaceae

 This is an unusual, very attractive little tree, especially when covered in fragrant white flowers in early spring.  You may need to be patient...

29 / 10 / 2001 | Thompson T Mutshinyalo | Walter Sisulu NBG
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Maesa lanceolata

Maesa lanceolata
Common names: false assegai ( Eng. ); valsassegaai (Afr.); umalunguzalazikhakhona, inhlavubele, umaguqu, isidenda, ubhoqobhoqo (Zulu); intendekwane (Xhosa); ligucu,
Family: Maesaceae

An apple-green tree-shrub gives shade to a cool, inviting stream: this idyllic prospect is repeated a million times in KwaZulu-Natal , South Africa 's...

07 / 02 / 2005 | Hugh Glen | KwaZulu-Natal Herbarium
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Malephora

Malephora framesii near Strandfontein
Common names: mesemb ( Eng. ); vygie (Afr.)
Family: Aizoaceae

Species of the mesemb genus Malephora enliven some of the most arid gardens of southern Africa with their brightly coloured flowers and vigorous, creeping...

28 / 02 / 2005 | Pascale Chesselet | Compton Herbarium
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Marasmodes

Marasmodes undulata
Common names: None recorded
Family: Asteraceae

The relatively unknown genus Marasmodes is confined to the lowlands of the south-western Western Cape and occurs in the critically endangered Renosterveld...

07 / 06 / 2010 | C Cowell | Kirstenbosch NBG
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Marchantia berteroana

M. berteroana male plant with antheridia and gemmae cups Photo S. Perold
Common names: umbrella liverwort (Eng.)
Family: Marchantiaceae

Marchantia berteroana is of one the most attractive and relatively large liverworts in South Africa. It thrives in constantly damp, shaded areas....

23 / 04 / 2012 | Nonkululo Phephu | National Herbarium Pretoria
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Markhamia zanzibarica

Flowers
Common names: bell bean tree ( Eng. ); klokkiesboontjieboom (Afr.); mula-kholoma ( Venda )
Family: Bignoniaceae

Markhamia zanzibarica, a small, tropical tree with striking flowers and decorative fruits, is Tree of the Year for 2008, together with Diospyros...

28 / 01 / 2008 | Giles Mbambezeli | Kirstenbosch NBG
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Maytenus acuminata var. acuminata 'Silky Showers'

Foliage
Common names: silky bark (Eng.); sybas (Afr.)
Family: Celastraceae

Maytenus 'Silky Showers' is a superb garden plant originally found in the warm, partially shaded valleys of the Little Karoo. It grows to...

01 / 03 / 2004 | Anthony Hitchcock | Kirstenbosch NBG
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Maytenus oleoides

Fruits and foliage
Common names: mountain maytenus ( Eng. ); klipkershout (Afr.)
Family: Celastraceae

Maytenus oleioides is a handsome tree with a deep green, dense, rounded crown and stout trunk, a good choice for today's smaller gardens as it...

20 / 11 / 2006 | Mandy Barnes | Kirstenbosch NBG
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Melianthus major

Melianthus major
Common names: honey flower, melianthus, giant honey flower, touch-me-not (Eng.); kruidjie-roer-my-nie, heuningblom, klappers, krikkiebos (Afr.); ubuhlungubemamba, u
Family: Melianthaceae

With its decorative blue-green leaves and tall, dark rusty-red flower heads, this is a striking plant. On a sunny day the birds feast on the nectar dripping...

19 / 06 / 2017 | Alice Notten | Kirstenbosch NBG
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Melica decumbens

Melica decumbens
Common names: staggers grass (Eng.); dronkgras (Afr.)
Family: Poaceae

Melica decumbens is a short grass producing many flowering stems with spikelets (flowers) that usually have dark purple glumes (bracts) that contrast beautifully...

19 / 04 / 2004 | L Fish | National Herbarium Pretoria
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Melianthus comosus

Melianthus comosus
Common names: honey flower (Eng); kruidjie-roer-my -nie (Afr.)
Family: Melianthaceae

Melianthus comosus is an ideal plant for a low-maintenance, waterwise garden, but it does need to be pruned to keep it neat and to encourage new growth....

20 / 09 / 2004 | Shireen Harris | Free State NBG
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Melinis nerviglumis

Melinis nerviglumis
Common names: bristle-leaved red-top grass (Eng.); ferweelgras (Afr.)
Family: Poaceae

This pretty, tufted grass with its bluish leaves and shining pink inflorescences is an attractive addition to any border or wild garden. It is particularly...

24 / 02 / 2003 | Isabel Johnson | Kwazulu-Natal NBG
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Mentha longifolia

Mentha longifolia subsp.capensis
Common names: wild mint (Eng.); kruisement, balderjan (Afr.); Koena-ya-thaba (Southern Sotho?); inixina, inzinziniba (Xhosa); ufuthana lomhlanga (Zulu)
Family: Lamiaceae

With its strong mint smell and taste, this herb has found its way into homes for centuries where it has been used in the kitchen and as a medicine. There...

26 / 01 / 2004 | Liesl Van der Walt | Kirstenbosch NBG
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