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 Paranomus, Hoodia and Hesperantha. 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, Succulents and Bulbs 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..




Combretum molle

Botanical name

Combretum molle (SA No 537)

Other names

Velvet bushwillow; basterrooibos (Afrikaans); mlama (Swahili); umbondwe (Zulu); Combretum atelanthum, C. gueinzii and C. holosericeum




Small or medium sized tree of up to 13 m in height with usually a rounded crown; ever-green to deciduous

Description of stem

Rough grey, light brown to black bark, sometimes fissured; often a contorted trunk, leaning or bent, branching unevenly; there are reddish hairs on branchlets

Description of leaves

Elliptic or round, leathery, opposite; soft and dense hairs on both surfaces; the net-veining more noticeable below; apex tapering to a sharp tip, base lobed, margin entire, stubby short petiole; the young leaves are attractively light pink to orange; the autumn leaves also have attractive colour changes to red, brown and coppery

Description of flowers

Yellow or light green, sweet-scented axillary spikes of around 7 cm on stalks with bracts present; appear in spring to early summer with or before the new leaves; attracts bees and other insects

Desciption of seed/fruit

Characteristic combretum-type four-winged seed of about 2 cm in diameter; light green with some reddish hue, turns noticeably red-brown when dry; persisting for several months or into the next flowering season

Description of roots

Puts down a taproot


Highly variable over the large distribution area, especially as far as leaf shape and the amount of hair on the leaves are concerned

Propagation and cultivation

Grown from seed, root suckers or truncheons, well-drained soil


As a large distribution area plant with much variability, it is successfully adapting to different environmental challenges, a likely basis for more future differentiation


Leaves are used in traditional medicine for dressing wounds; used as an antidote for some snakebites; root decoctions are used in treating abortion and constipation; bark boiled in water is used for treating acne and the common cold; also used to treat some animal diseases; the wood is fairly termite-proof, used as fence-posts and to make small implements;  red and yellow dyes are obtained from the leaves and roots respectively; leaves are browsed by livestock and game; several bird and insect species frequent the flowers for food

Ecological rarity

Common, spread over most of Africa

Pests and diseases



Mollis = soft


Open woodland or bushveld over a large range of altitudes from coastal areas to over 2300 m; rocky slopes and quartzite outcrops, often close to termite mounds

Distribution (SA provinces)

Northern Cape; Free State; Kwazulu-Natal; North West; Gauteng; Mpumalanga; Limpopo


South Africa; Swaziland; Mozambique; Namibia; Botswana; Angola; Zimbabwe; Zambia; Malawi; DRC; Tanzania; Kenya; west into Senegal; Sudan; Ethiopia; Somalia; Yemen

Info, Palgrave and other sources

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