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 Romulea, Cotula and Lobostemon. 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, Herbs 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 140 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. How to use the Comments facility in the Albums


Any visitor to this Site can now register and log in as a registered user to comment on any Album item. The comment, question or suggestion regarding the selected item is submitted via email to the Editor.


New text or photo material on a South African plant can also be submitted for consideration by registered users. The final editing and posting of accepted material are done on this Site by the Editor only. The Site does not remunerate contributors for such input. Please ensure that the correct name of the photographer and/or author of text is furnished for inclusion with such a posting. All rights are reserved and the Editor’s decision is final.


Other enquiries or general communication regarding the Site can be submitted to the Webmaster.


A Selection of Album Categories

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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