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.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Compositae Bush-tick Berry (Chrysanthemoides monilifera)

Family Compositae
Chyrsathemoides monilifera is a fast growing perennial, semi-succulent, spreading to 2 m tall. Branches grey to grey-green, smooth ascending, fleshy at first becoming woody. The leaves are simple, alternately arranged, oval to to broadly lanceolate, fleshy and have short petioles of up to 10 mm long. The leaf blade are about 45 mm long and 24 mm broad green to grey green and the surface of the young leaves covered with dense cobweb-like hairs, becoming smooth with age. The flowers are borne on branch ends in groups of up to 5. The flowers are typical daisy-like (involucre) and up to 40 mm in diameter, bell-shaped and bright yellow. This larger 'flower' typical of the daisy family is made up of many individual densely arranged tubular male and female flowers and termed the involucre. The marginal female florets are sterile and each with a single yellow petal. The fruit is unique, deviating from all other members of the daisy family. It is fleshy, egg-shaped, edible and sweet, at maturity brown, blackish or purple and up to 6 mm in diameter.
The bietou is one of the most variable and widespread indigenous shrubs and has been divided into a number of distinct subspecies. It is widely distributed along the coast from the N. Cape, W. Cape, E. Cape and along the Drakensberg escarpment in KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland, Mpumalanga and further into the Chimanimani Mountains of eastern Zimbabwe and to northern eastern Africa. It occurs in fynbos, strandveld, grassland, subtropical coast, and margins of afro-temperate forest- and grassland vegetation. The subsp. monilifera is from the Western Cape and is the one most often find in cultivation. Here it occurs in both strandveld and fynbos.
The plant occurs in full sun in well drained situations such as coastal dunes, hills, mountains (fynbos, or grassland) or rocky terrain, often part of a natural shrubbery or sometimes growing as asolitary individual. It is a pioneer, often appearing after fires. Its life span is between 8-12 years, after which the plants become woody and untidy and are best replaced. Its semi-succulent nature makes it drought tolerant. The Afrikaans vernacular name bietou is derived from the original Khoi name. Although it may flower throughout the year, its main flowering time is during late autumn and winter. It is pollinated by insects and bees find it particularly attractive. The fleshy fruits, appearing shortly after the flowers, are very popular among frugatory birds .
According to Smith in his Common Names of South African Plants (1966) bietou fruit was formerly used by the Khoi and San as a food source. Other uses an infusion of the leaves as an enema to treat fevers (Coates Palgrave).