Dissotis princeps, commonly known as wild tibouchina or lasiandra, is a fast growing herbaceous shrub that thrives in marshes and other damp spots. It may reach a height of about 3 m. The leaves are lanceolate, opposite or whorled and have velvety surfaces with 3 to 7 prominent veins curving from base to apex (the particular venation is a feature of the tibouchina family).
The flower colour is lilac or purple, occasionally white, as can be seen in this specimen photographed at Kirstenbosch in March. The blooming season lasts long, from January and in warmer areas through the winter to October. The natural distribution areas are not continuous. They lie in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Kwazulu-Natal as well as in parts of tropical east Africa (Manning, 2009).
The roots of this plant are sometimes eaten in circumstances of extreme need. It is also used as a stock fodder, especially to feed calves. In addition, the plant has some medicinal properties recognised by certain traditional communities (www.plantzafrica.com).