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.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Transvaal Sumach (Osyris lanceeolata)

Family Santalaceae
Distribution and habitatOsyris lanceolata occurs naturally on rocky outcrops and mountain slopes in bushveld, wooded grassland, woodland and on the margins of forests, from the Eastern Cape northwards through the eastern half of South Africa to central Africa.
Uses and cultural aspectsThis Osyris has a hard and durable wood which is used for timber, firewood, and utensils (pestles). The bark was used by early inhabitants of the Cape for tanning leather, while the root produces a strong red dye. The root fibres are mostly used in basketry. Roots and bark are used for tea and as a tonic in soup. Ripe fruits are eaten raw, with the seed discarded, but only as an emergency food for herdsmen. Traditionally various Kenyan communities used Osyris lanceolata to preserve milk in gourds for long periods. The root decoction is used to treat diarrhoea in Kenya. A decoction of the bark and heartwood is used to treat some sexually transmitted diseases and anaemia in Tanzania. Extracts from the plant are said to cure certain diseases, including Hepatitis B. Roots and wood are scented and used to make cosmetics and perfume.
EcologyThe rock tannin-bush is the larval food plant for the dotted border butterfly, Mylothris chloris agathina, and is utilized by many beetles, but no serious damage has ever been reported. It is commonly said to be a partial root parasite, growing on the roots of other plants and utilizing the root system of these hosts, but it produces its own chlorophyll. This shrub is usually intimately associated with shrubs of woody species, especially species such as Grewia flavescens, Burkea africana and Combretum molle.