What’s in Flower Right Now? – Strophanthus speciosus

Common Name- Forest Poison Rope; Afrikaans- giftou; Zulu- amasebele, indodabindenye, isihlungu; Xhosa- umkhukhumeza; Sotho- umhlazazana

This creeper, found in our forests, is reputed to have poisonous leaves and seeds.  Traditionally, arrow poison is made from the seeds and the powdered roots are used to treat snakebite (in humans and cattle) and sometimes taken as snuff.  The interesting creamy-yellow flowers, with darker orange at the base, are funnel shaped with long twisted lobes.  They have a sweet scent.  Hairy seeds are dispersed by wind once the fruit splits. Narrow elliptic leaves are bright green and shiny, with a prominent midrib. Climbing stems are corky and Strophanthus make attractive specimens to cover a pergola and grow very quickly. Scramblers provide good nesting sites for birds as they are usually well tethered to surrounding trees.

Take advantage of the regular Forest Walks in the Midlands and see Strophanthus for yourself.

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