Gomphostigma virgatum

Botanical name

Gomphostigma virgatum

Other names

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

Family

 

Dimensions

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

Variation

 

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

Tolerances

 

Uses

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

Ecological rarity

Common

Pests and diseases

 

Other

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

Location

Edges of streams and watercourses; among the bolders within rivers

Distribution (SA provinces)

Widespread through the eastern and southern parts of the country

Country

South Africa; Zimbabwe; Lesotho; Swaziland

 

Info (also) from www.plantzafrica.com

 


Photographed by Johan Wentzel

Gomphostigma virgatum in the river at Loteni, Jan 08

 

Photographed by Johan Wentzel

Botanical Gardens