There are no half-measures in the fruit production of Nymania capensis when conditions are favourable. This colourful profusion was photographed near Oudtshoorn in October after a notably wet winter.
And there is nothing wrong with the appearance of the flowers of the Chinese lantern bush, as the tree is commonly known, a name shared with the exotic fuchsias. Still, the fruits dominate the flowers in looks, having won the competition for giving the plant its common name.
The seeds hiding inside these festive containers are small, brown and pea-shaped; between 2 mm and 4 mm in diameter. But this tree is not easy to grow from seed. Don’t plant it in a very different climate to its habitat, as excessive rain especially in summer will kill it.
N. capensis grows slowly and lasts about 25 years in habitat (Coates Palgrave, 2002; www.plantzafrica.com).