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 Tritoniopsis, Melianthus and Metalasia. 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 Bulbs and Shrubs 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.


2. Want to talk about an Album Item?


There is a new way of communicating with the Editor of this Site regarding any of the Album Items.
Comments, questions, corrections, information and suggestions can be put to the Editor by using the following email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Please ensure that the Album Item concerned is clearly identified. Type its exact title as well as the Album Name in the Subject Line of your email. Please also state your name.


Similarly, communication regarding the functioning or technical aspects of the Site can be directed to the Webmaster at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




Gomphostigma virgatum

Botanical name

Gomphostigma virgatum

Other names

River star; besembossie (Afrikaans); otterbossie (Afrikaans)




A bushy, evergreen, perennial, branched shrub of up to about 2,5 m, growing on stream banks

Description of stem

Silvery grey and flexible branches, four-angled;

Description of leaves

Simple, narrow, opposite and stalkless with a connecting ridge and prominent midrib

Description of flowers

Many small white, scented flowers in summer, emerging from the axils of upper leaves; anthers have purple margins

Desciption of seed/fruit

Cylindric, two-lobed capsules

Description of roots

Easily settled in watery circumstances



Propagation and cultivation

Grown from semi-hardwood cuttings; planted in full sun where ample water supplies are stable; cut branches back before new spring growth




Used to make a medicine for combatting extreme fatigue; the twigs are used to make brooms; the plant is browsed by livestock

Ecological rarity


Pests and diseases



Gomphos = club (Greek), referring to the shape of the stigma; virgatum = twiggy


Edges of streams and watercourses; among the bolders within rivers

Distribution (SA provinces)

Widespread through the eastern and southern parts of the country


South Africa; Zimbabwe; Lesotho; Swaziland


Info (also) from


Photographed by Johan Wentzel

Gomphostigma virgatum in the river at Loteni, Jan 08


Photographed by Johan Wentzel

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