Muraltia is a genus of shrubs and undershrubs in the Polygalaceae family, commonly called purple gorse and in Afrikaans known as kroesbossie (little frizzy bush). Some species are ericoid and some are spiny.
The simple leaves usually grow in fascicles (hence kroesbossie), or scattered on the stems. The leaf margins are entire and the leaf tips acutely pointed, sometime spiny.
The nearly stalkless, small flowers grow solitary from leaf axils on upper stem parts. The outer three of the five membranous sepals are small, the other two a lateral pair that is slightly to much bigger, appearing petal-like or wing-like.
There are three petals, the lower, central one hooded or keeled with two large appendages or a crest near its tip. The lateral petals, an identical pair, is narrow and free or cohering.
There are seven stamens. Their filaments form a tube from the base, slit on the side and usually inflated in the middle. The superior ovary usually has two locules inside, four horns on top and is sometimes hairy. The style is curved near its tip and usually two-lobed. The stigma is usually lateral, sometimes disc-shaped.
The fruit is a dry, membranous and compressed capsule bearing two seeds. It usually has four horns or warty tubercles and is sometimes bristly; otherwise a rounded, fleshy drupe.
Most seeds have aril attachments extending in lateral flaps. Seed dispersal is performed by ants that consume the arils.
There are about 118 Muraltia species, all in Africa and more than 110 of them occurring in the Western and Eastern Cape, growing in fynbos.
Some of the species feature in traditional medicine, while the fruits are eaten by ostriches, tortoises, other animals and people.
The plant in picture is Muraltia spinosa (Leistner, (Ed.), 2000; Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2015; Manning, 2007).