For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Butterfly Bush (Rotheca Hirsuta)

Family Lamiaceae 
Rotheca hirsuta occurs mainly in grassland. It is one of the first spring flowers to appear after winter in the summer rainfall regions.
 Description
Rotheca hirsuta is a perennial herb with many, erect, unbranched, angular, annual stems arising from an underground rootstock. The stems are mostly up to 0.3 m high, rarely up to 0.5 m. The sessile leaves of R. hirsuta are arranged in whorls of three, sometimes four, rarely opposite. The shape of the blade varies from narrowly oblong, narrowly obovate, narrowly elliptic, elliptic to broadly elliptic, with an acute apex and entire margin. The leaf blades are totally glabrous and smooth to densely hairy and often somewhat succulent. The surfaces of the leaf blade are often described in the literature as glandular-punctate. A study of the leaf surfaces with the scanning electron microscope revealed that there are actually numerous peltate hairs covering the leaf surface.

 Ecology

The white, inverted Y-shaped pattern on the lower corolla lip and the long exserted, curved stamens and style of Rotheca hirsuta are adaptations to insect pollination. With sturdy, often very old, fire-resistant rootstocks, this species is well adapted to survive unfavourable conditions.

 Uses and cultural aspects

The Sotho people administered a decoction of the root as an enema in kidney disease ( Phillips 1917; Watt & Breyer-Brandwijk 1962; Jacot Guillarmod 1971; Lucas & Pike 1971 ). An infusion made from the roots and leaves is used as a remedy for worms by the Zulu (Hulme 1954; Walker 1996). According to Hutchings et al. (1996) roots are used in medicines known as imbiza yomzimba omubi which are taken for scrofula swellings and root and leaf infusions are taken as anthelmintics by the Zulus.