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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, May 13, 2013

Orange Bird Berry (Hoslundia opposita)

Family Lamiaceae
This hardy garden plant bears brightly coloured, tasty edible fruits and is an excellent subject for container gardening, which is a useful way to make the best of all available space.


Description

Plants are herbaceous perennials (either spreading or erect) and sometimes soft shrubs, growing up to 1.2 m high. Leaves are opposite or sometimes arranged in threes. Plants possess minute, white or creamy green-coloured flowers, starting from October to February. Fruits are fleshy, berry-like in shape and attractively orange-red in colour.

 Distribution

Orange bird-berry plants have a widespread natural distribution, occurring both in tropical and subtropical open woodland. In southern Africa they occur naturally in areas such as Namibia and Botswana in the north, as well as in Swaziland. In South Africa, they can be found growing naturally from the coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal, extending to Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Plants are very common throughout tropical Africa, in countries such as Senegal, Sudan and Ethiopia.

 Derivation of name and historical aspects

The name Hoslundia was named for O. Hoslund-Smith, a naturalist from Guinea. The Latin name opposita refers to the leaves and fruits, which are set in opposite pairs.

 Ecology

Certain insects including bees visit plants. The tiny cream-green flowers are much loved by butterflies. The fruits are birds' favourites; hence the name orange bird-berry, and wild animals feed on the plant too.

 Uses and cultural aspects

People eat tasty fruits. Leaves are reported to have a strong unpleasant scent, which is alleged to repel bees and is thus utilized in the collection of honey.