Colpoon compressum, peviously Osyris compressa, is occasionally a tree that may reach 5 m (SA Tree List No. 99). There is more! This plant has other guises: commonly an innocent looking shrub of 1 m to 2 m, unseen in the light of day, it is also part parasite. This happens underground where it sucks nourishment from the roots of involuntary donor plants happening to be growing close by.
This plant was photographed in the Caledon Wildflower Garden in midwinter. It has some unripe fruits as well as more new flowers; the terminal flower clusters showing different development stages.
The grey leaf colour is more accentuated here than in other pictures of this Album, maybe related to the time of year. The leaf blades are rigid and leathery. The leaves of this plant were in the past used in tanning leather a light brown colour. Pruimbas, as the plant is called in Afrikaans, means plum bark (Van Wyk and Gericke, 2000; Coates Palgrave, 2002).