Midlands Wildflower for November – Ledebouria

15 species of Ledebouria are found in the summer rainfall areas of South Africa with a variety of spotted, textured, striped and coloured leaves in different sizes. 

The small flowers are usually pink or purplish, although some species have green flowers.  Often, Ledebouria is one of the first plants to flower inspring, and continues through summer. The bulb is eaten by porcupines and in some species the leaves are grazed too.  Due to habitat loss caused by agriculture, forestry and urban sprawl, many Ledebouria species are endangered or rare. Pollination is thought to be by social bees and seed dispersal is principally by water – seed is washed away from where it was released by the mother plant to germinate nearby.

In traditional medicine, Ledebouria has many uses, including the treatment of diarrhoea, influenza, backache, skin irritations, wounds, lumbago and to ease pregnancy. Watch where you step on Springtime walks, there are bound to be some Ledebouria underfoot.

The snowfalls in August did not deter this tiny Ledebouria from flowering in recently burnt grassland.

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One thought on “Midlands Wildflower for November – Ledebouria

  1. David Clulow

    This mail stimulates, I hope, an advancement in botany. So long I have wondered at the variety of photos I have collected of Ledebouria and hoped for someone who will come up with a study of them. So far on Edgeware hill in Boston, the only study I am aware of is by either the Pigs or the Porcupine who root out swathes of Ledebouris for metres, and yet they survive. Clearly the bulbs are a very desirable snack, but tenacious to survive.

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