Notices for Users of the Albums

1. New Albums and some changes

 

The latest genera Albums added to the Operation Wildflower Site are the ones on Paranomus, Hoodia and Hesperantha. This means that photos and stories of plants belonging to these genera already on the Site have been moved from the more general Albums called Shrubs, Succulents and Bulbs into their own new Albums under Genera. 

 

There is a genus Album in every case where enough material has been accumulated to warrant a stand-alone grouping of photos and stories. There are now more than 160 such Albums on genera of South African plants. The biggest ones (most photos) belong to the genera Crassula, Euphorbia, Pelargonium and Aloe. Keep watching, more will be added! If there is no genus Album yet on the plant you are looking for, check under Types or the Search Box.

 

In order to access all items on a plant of interest, the Search Box should be used, entering the botanical name of the plant. Most photos and stories on a particular plant are likely to be posted under Genera, (or if there are only few of them, in the conglomerate categories under Types). Habitat, Regions or Parks and Gardens may also contain some material on a species searched for, showing in the list generated when using the Search Box. The latest Regions Album is the one on the Langkloof. A new Parks and Gardens Album for the Caledon Wildflower Garden has also been created from existing material.

 

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Citrullus lanatus

Botanical Name

Citrullus lanatus

Other names

Tsamma, wild watermelon; karkoer or tsamma (Afrikaans); makataan (Tswana); t'samma (Khoi)

 

Cucurbitaceae

Dimensions

A creeping annual herb with prostrate stems

Description of Stem

Multiple greenish grey, hairy stems of up to 3m in length; forked tendrils

Description of Leaves

Leaves occur on sturdy stalks, are conspicuously and ornately lobed around three prominent veins emanating from the leaf-base; hairy, rough to the touch on both surfaces

Description of flowers

Axillary flowers, light yellow, five-lobed corolla, greenish underneath; monoecious (male and female flowers on the same plant)

Description of seed/fruit

Variable, usually spherical fruit of 20cm in diameter ripen in winter; pale yellow-green (in the Kalahari form), sometimes light green with longitudinal dark green markings on the surface (in the cultivated, makataan form); the flesh or fruit pulp contains multiple seeds

Description of roots

 

Variation

Variable over the wide areas of its appearance, increased by cultivation and selection

Propagation and Cultivation

Grown from seed in vegetable production

Tolerances

Hardy

Uses

Edible fruit, sought after in dry areas for potable liquid by humans and animals; cultivars improved for human use have been developed in cultivation; seeds are dried, roasted, winnowed and ground to store as a sought after and nutritious meal; jam is made from some forms of the cultivated varieties; in Africa the seed is used to make a skin cream

Ecological rarity

Common

Pests and Diseases

Humans may be able to survive for several weeks on tsamma alone in a desert environment

Other

 

Location

Sandy soil in grassland or bushveld; often in areas where the natural vegetation had been disturbed or cultivated

Distribution

Northern Cape, Northwest, Limpopo

Country

South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and northward in Africa


 

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