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 Brunia, Quaqua and Paranomus. 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 and Succulents 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 170 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..




Sutherlandia frutescens

Botanical name

Sutherlandia frutescens

Other names

Cancer bush; kankerbos (Afrikaans); Lessertia frutescens; umnwele (Xhosa and Zulu); phetola (Tswana)




Spreading shrub up to 1 m; some of the long branches tend to become prostrate

Description of stem


Description of leaves

Pinnately compound, feathery leaves; the hairy aspect makes the plant look silvery

Description of flowers

Pink to reddish pea-type flowers on short racemes in leaf axils of more than 3 cm appearing in winter or early spring

Desciption of seed/fruit

Conspicuous and decorative, inflated papery, pink and greenish-yellow puffed (legume type)seed pods of up to 5 cm

Description of roots

As other plants from this family it fixes atmospheric nitrogen in the soil via a symbiotic relationship with bacteria that receive sugars from the plant and deposits the nitrogen in the roots; the plant converts the nitrogen into ammonia that it uses


Several similar species exist which makes identification difficult



Propagation and cultivation

Grows easily from seed, to be watered in winter


Copes in a variety of soil types, prefers good drainage; withstands mild frost


Widely used as a medicine, among other things in the treatment of cancer and in pharmaceutical products; grazed; popular garden plant

Ecological rarity


Pests and diseases



A study by the Universities of the Western Cape and Missouri reported no adverse effects of ingesting leaf powder capsules of the plant in healthy adults; some studies to ascertain the plant's possible use in treating HIV-AIDS infection as an immune system booster has not yet yielded results,whilst reports of CD4 counts increasing after use have been reported


In Karoo and various other veld types, also where the vegetation has been disturbed

Distribution (SA provinces)

Western, Eastern and Northern Cape


South Africa

Sutherlandia frutescens published by William Curtis (1792)

Sutherlandia frutescens; Photographed by Ricky Vogel

Visitor Numbers

This week4708
This month26638

Item of Interest