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..




Ziziphus mucronata

Botanical name Ziziphus mucronata
Other names Buffalo thorn, juba plant (Herman Charles Bosman), blinkblaar wag-'n-bietjie (Afrikaans); mokgalo (Tswana); umphafa (Zulu & Xhosa)
Family Rhamnaceae
Dimensions A medium sized, deciduous tree up to 9 m in height and with spreading branches and much lateral development
Description of stem Dark grey, rough bark, fissured into small portions on mature stems, lighter and smooth on young branches that start off green; heavily spined by pairs of characteristically different spines, one being straight, the other curved; in older trees the spines are markedly fewer to absent
Description of leaves Shiny (above, duller and sometimes hairy below), simple, ovate, alternate and asymmetric leaves, variable in size; three-veined from the base; leaf edge finely toothed close to the apex
Description of flowers Small, yellowish green, clusters in leaf axils, appear during summer
Desciption of seed/fruit Spherical, green, turning reddish brown, remains on the tree into winter when the leaves have fallen; thin layer of edible pulp around the hard seed
Description of roots
Propagation and cultivation Grows easily from seed
Tolerances Survives as a shrub in areas not quite conducive to its full flourishing
Uses Seeds are edible (fresh, green or dry, mature), made into a porridge and even a liquor by some indigenous populations; also roasted into a (poor) coffee substitute; usually a supplementary or famine food; Coates Palgrave refers to magico-medicinal uses, including use in making rosaries; a poultice of ground and baked root is reported for use in alleviating pains; also used in treating boils, skin infections, lumbago, dysentry, tubercular gland swellings, coughs and chest complaints (Coates Palgrave); the fallen leaves are often preferred winter grazing for cattle and some game
Ecological rarity Common
Pests and diseases Rarely some fungal growths
Other Herman Charles Bosman describes it, the Juba plant's seed, as a base for an aphrodysiac, to be ingested by the target person at midnight
Location Wide range of habitats, including woodland, bushveld, along river banks
Distribution (SA provinces) Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo
Country South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, further north into Ethiopia

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