The burn jelly plant, one of the everyday usage names of Bulbine frutescens, is a fast growing, ground covering perennial with erect, succulent green leaves. The leaves grow in opposite rows, clasping the branched stems at the base. Clumps of this plant spread steadily, helped by adventitious roots sprouting from stems on or near the ground.
The inflorescence is borne as a single raceme on an erect stalk. Blooming is more prevalent in spring, but may continue all year round. Six yellow, sometimes orange or even white petals share the star flower’s allure with feathery yellow stamens, the hallmark of the Bulbine genus. (The related and similar Bulbinella species don’t have these fluffy appendages to their stamens, only the more common, straight filaments holding up their anthers.)
The fruit is a small round capsule that releases black seeds for wind dispersal. This is different to the flat, winged seed shape of many other plants belonging to the Asphodelaceae family.
Some writers place the plant in the Eastern, Western and Northern Cape Provinces; other sources have it that the distribution area covers all of South Africa (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010; www.plantzafrica.com).
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