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.

 

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Catha edulis

 

Botanical name

Catha edulis

Other names

Bushman's tea; khat; boesmanstee (Afrikaans)

Family

Celastraceae

Dimensions

Small deciduous tree with drooping branches, up to 12 m in height; sometimes a shrub

Description of stem

Bark grey, smooth and often reddish on younger branches, coarse and cracked in a characteristic grid pattern on mature specimens

Description of leaves

Opposite on mature branches, alternate on young ones; oblong, leathery, bright green and shiny on upper surface, paler green below; net-veining conspicuous, especially on the lower surface; margin serrated or toothed with a gland per tooth; tapering apex and base; petiole about 1 cm; stipules sometimes present; petioles short and pink; leaves become yellow in autumn

Description of flowers

Very small white to yellow flowers in abundant axillary clusters; they are green inside

Desciption of seed/fruit

Three-lobed capsule of 1 cm that turns reddish brown as it ripens, mostly dehiscent; seeds winged

Description of roots

 

Variation

 

Propagation and cultivation

Popular as an attractive garden tree; grown from seed, truncheons or root cuttings; it is sometimes cultivated as a container, even a house-plant

Tolerances

 

Uses

Wood used in house-building and furniture; the leaves provide a widely used flu and cough remedy, also for general chest complaints or respiratory diseases; in the Middle East known as the source of a commonly used drug (khat); www.geocities.com says that 80% of adults in Yemen use khat as a drug; it is exported to the USA (for one) on a large scale; the plant contains the recognised drug, cathinone

Ecological rarity

Common and widespread

Pests and diseases

 

Other

Catha' = a derivation from the Arabic common name of this tree; edulis = edible (Greek); khat is dangerous in various ways to the health of children, older people over 55 and regular users; the ancient Egyptians may have believed that it gives access to divinity

Location

Woodland, evergreen forest and wooded mountainsides

Distribution (SA provinces)

Eastern Cape; KZN; Mpumalanga; Limpopo

Country

South Africa; Swaziland; Mozambique; Zimbabwe; Zambia; East and North Africa; southern Arabia and Yemen; it may have originated in Ethiopia and/or Yemen

 

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