Manochlamys albicans, commonly known in Afrikaans as spanspekbos (cantaloupe bush or sweet melon bush), sometimes bobbejaanseep (baboon soap) and also hondebossie (dogs’ little bush), is a vigorous, branched shrub that grows to 2 m in height. So many diverse common names indicate a presence of the plant in the minds of the rural, mainly farming people that found it of interest in the past.
M. albicans grows tiny yellow (sometimes red) flowers in fleshy terminal spikes during spring and summer. Yellowish succulent bracts enclose the small globular fruits bunched above the leaves. This fruiting mode distinguishes the plant from other grey-leaved shrubs of the Atriplex genus belonging to the same family and sometimes sharing the habitat.
The bracts exude a sweet melon scent when crushed, hence the spanspekbos vernacular name; one could imagine what the dogs might do to the bush, but not easily how the baboons are connected. Some folklore dies with the old folk.
The distribution of the species is in Namibia, the Western and Northern Cape as well as eastwards into the Eastern Cape, a little beyond the Little Karoo. It grows in loam and saline soils on stony hillsides (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010; Wikipedia).