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 Metalasia, Brabejum and Bauhinia. 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 Trees 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 Parks and Gardens Album is the one on the Quiver Tree Forest.


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..




Sterculia murex

Botanical name

Sterculia murex (SA No 475)

Other names

Lowveld chestnut; laeveldkastaiing (Afrikaans); mohlatsane (sePedi)




Medium to large deciduous tree, may reach 12 m in height; a spreading tree with dense foliage

Description of stem

Branching into a few heavy stems; grey bark or nearly black, that cracks up into rectangular patches, becomes darker with age

Description of leaves

Five oblong leaflets are arranged digitately on every compound leaf; the leaves have long, hairy leaf stalks, whilst the leaflets are without stalks, tapering at both ends; margins entire; velvety surface, with conspicuous netveining on both sides; young leaves have a shiny bronze colour

Description of flowers

Five-pointed light yellow or greenish yellow, recurving sepals present a shapely flower in the absence of petals; flowers occur in conspicuous sprays on leafless branches during spring; some pink dots may occur

Desciption of seed/fruit

Large, five-lobed fruit, 30 cm in diameter, are found in summer and autumn; they are light green and covered in hard, hairy spines; the seeds are large, embedded among hairs that cause irritation to humans; the dry pod lobes are attractively boat-shaped and sometimes used as ashtrays

Description of roots

A caudex occurs at the base of young plants ( )



Propagation and cultivation

Grown from seed


Tender to frost; thrives in high rainfall areas


People sometimes roast the seeds for eating; also eaten by baboons and other animals, including rats and mice; a garden tree

Ecological rarity

Restricted to a small area in south-east Mpumalanga and adjacent areas of Swaziland

Pests and diseases



This tree is only in name related to chestnuts; there are about 150 species in the genus Sterculia; the genus gets its name from the Roman god of manure, Sterculius, probably because of the unpleasant aroma of some of the flowers (Wikipedia); the genus is sometimes called tropical chestnuts


Rocky, wooded hills

Distribution (SA provinces)



South Africa; Swaziland



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