Osyris compressa (SA Tree List No. 99) is occasionally a tree that may reach 5 m. But there is more! This plant has other guises: commonly an innocent looking shrub of 1 m to 2 m, unseen in the light of day, it is also part parasite. This happens underground where it sucks nourishment from the roots of involuntary donor plants happening to be growing close by.
This specimen was photographed in the Caledon Botanical Garden in midwinter. It is bearing unripe fruits as well as still more new flowers. The terminal flower clusters show different development stages.
The grey leaf colour is more accentuated here than in other pictures of this Album; maybe related to the time of the year. The leaf blades are rigid and leathery. These leaves were used in tanning leather a light brown colour. The pruimbas as the plant is called in Afrikaans, means plum bark. This everyday name was probably given because of the use made of its bark in tanning leather a dark colour (Van Wyk and Gericke, 2000; Coates Palgrave, 2002).