The fruits of wild cotton or in Afrikaans the gansiebos (little goose bush), as Gomphocarpus cancellatus is also colloquially known, have given the plant these two common names. The “little goose” of the gansiebos is seen in the fruit shape. The fruit may exceed 5 cm in length. It is an oval, inflated-looking, fleshy pod that tapers to a pointed tip.
In this picture the pods have already dried and opened, the seeds gone. The hard, purple seeds disappear on the wind, assisted by white downy appendages called comas that function like tiny parachutes. This white fluffy material brought about the wild cotton name. If conditions for germination are good at the spot where the parachute lands, the mission of starting a new plant has been accomplished.
What remains on the plant in picture is only some dried husks of the fruits. The pods are smooth on the inside surfaces, while pointy dry protuberances are scattered along their outside surfaces (www.plantzafrica.com; Manning, 2007).