Hibiscus aethiopicus


Hibiscus aethiopicus Common name: Common Dwarf Wild Hibiscus; Sotho: lereletsane; Zulu: ihlalanyosi elimpofu

On a recent excursion near Underberg with CREW, many interesting flowers were found, but the prettiest of all on a misty afternoon was this little hibiscus. While the flowers are most often creamy-yellow in colour, they do turn pink with age and on special occasions are deep pink.

A low growing plant found in seasonally moist grassland, it occurs all the way through Africa to Ethiopia. The rough spear shaped leaves are hairy and often toothed. The flowers occur singly and open to about 5cm in diameter. In traditional medicine this plant is used for colic, swollen joints and sprains. Curiously, recent research conducted in the Middle East has indicated that it may contain an antidote to bleeding snake bites.

CREW, the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers, is a programme that involves volunteers from the public in the monitoring and conservation of South Africa's threatened plants. To learn more about the CREW programme visit www.sanbi.org look under Threatened Species Programme (under Biodiversity) and you will find CREW. As a country we urgently need to keep track of our plants so that we know how to conserve the unique diversity that we have. CREW volunteers can contribute significantly by each focusing on a small area of the country and monitoring the plants endemic to that area.

Click on any of the links below to see another Dargle wildflower