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Kirstenbosch plant walks

The idea of these walks is to familiarise yourself with the plants in Kirstenbosch. Many of them have medicinal qualities. It is one thing to know about the plants from books and pictures. It is another thing to smell and see them through the seasons. And once you know witch ones are safe to taste then so much the better.


The ones with the stars * I have not found in the garden.

Those marked with O - for women,  X - for protection,  ֎ - for the spiritual path


If you are in the Western Cape most of the first group will grow well in your garden or on the sidewalk.

Some are frost sensitive FrostS** Sometimes they will grow among rocks that help protect them from the cold.

This first group is very easy to grow and can be used for many ailments.  Please plant some of them at home.


Aloe arborescens             Bos aalwyn        Forest aloe                       Ingcelwane

Artemisia afra              ֎Wilde als          African wormwood          Umhlonjane

Ballota africana               Kattekruid        Cat bush                            Isinazi

Bulbine frutescens           Balsem kopiva, nierbossie, bulbinella,     Ibucu

Bulbine natalensis            Rooiwortel                                             Matshetshafike

Carpobrotus edulis           Suurvy               Sour fig                          gcukuma

*Dodonaea angustifolia    Sandolien         Sand olive                       Mutzuwe

Geranium incanum         O Vrouetee           Cartet geranium

Gunnera perpensa          O Rivierpampoen  Wild rhubarb                  Tangazana

Helichrysum                   ֎ Kooigoed           Everlastings                      Mphephu

Kniphofia   spp               O Vuurpyl               Red hot poker                   Ixonja

Leonotis leonotis           ֎ Klip dagga         Wild dagga                       Umfincaficane

Lessertia  frutescens       Gaansies           Cancer-bush                     Umwele

Melianthus commosus       Kruidjie roer my nie                                  Irhabiya

Melianthus major             for a bigger specimen garden plant but the same uses as above

Mentha longifolia            Balderjan           Wild mint                          Inzinziniba

Pelargonium sidoides       Maagpynbossie                     Umsongelwa  Umclealaabo

*Ruta graveolens         O Wynruit               Rue                                      Frost S**

(Stoebe) Serephium plumosa    Slangbos                 

*Urtica urens                 Brandnetel             small stinging nettle

Withania somnifera      Wilde apeliefie     winter cherry         Ubuvumba Ashwaganda


The following group are also useful and you may find a need to plant them but not all of them are from the Western Cape  


*Acorus calamus             makkalmoes       sweet flag                             ikalamuzi Z

Adansonia digitata          kremetart          baobab                                   movana T

Agapanthus africanus   O Blou lelie          blue lily                             isicakathi ubani Z

*Alepidea amatymbica    Kalmoes                                                           iquili

Ansellia africana                                      tiger orchid

*Arctotis echinatus         Moedertroos                                                   ikataza

*Aristea afra                   Moerbossie, maagbossie

Bersama lucens           ֎ Blinkblaar wit essenhout                                Isindiyandiya

Boophane disticha           Gifbol                                             Ibati, Incwadi   Don’t eat

Bowiea volubilis               Knolklimop                                         igibsila            Don’t eat

Calodendrum capense                         Cape chestnut                             memezi

Catha edulis                     Boesmantee                                                     umhlwazi

Centella asiatica              varkoortjies  Pennywort  

Chironia baciffera          bitter bessie bos             

Cissampelos capensis      dawidjiewortel                                                Mayisake

Clematis bracheata                            traveller’s joy

Cliffortia odorata           wilde wingerd

Clivia miniata                X boslelie                                                             Umayime

*Cnicus benedictus         mak karmedik         holy thistle                       maxaba

Cotyledon orbiculata       plakkie                                                            Imphewula

Curtisia dentata           X assegaai                                                          umhlahleni

*Dicoma anamala            pisvêr                                                               unyongwana

Dioscorea dregeana        bospatat                                                       isidakwa Don’t eat

Diospyros lyciodes          bloubos           bluebush

Diospyros whiteana                                bladder nut

*Elephantorhiza elephantina    elandsboontjie                                       intolwane

Elytropappus rhinocerotis    renosterbos                                                uvuvuvu

Eucomis autumnalis               wilde pynappel        Pineapple flower      umathunga

*Galenia africana                 kraalbos

Galium spp                             Jongmansliefde                                          pendulu

Gloriosa superba                                                             flame lily                    Don’t eat

Haemanthus albiflos        ֎                                            white flower

Haemanthus coccineus                                                    Red flower April fool

Halleria lucida                                                                  Lucky plant

Haworthia                                                                         Family plant

Harpephyllum caffrum       wilde pruim                                                    umgwenya

Hypoxis                                Afrika artappel         African potato    ilabatega , inkomfe

*Ipomoea oblongata                                                                                    boqho

Knowltonia                           katjiedrieblaar                                                vutusa

Lippa javanica                         verkoue tee           

Morella quercifolia                wasbessie wax-berry                                   maluleka

Ocotea bullata                        stinkhoud                                                     unukani

Olea europaea                         olienhout                                                      umquma

*Osmitopsis asteriscoides      bels                                                              ixina

*Pentanisia pruneloides          sooibrandbossie                                          icimamlilo

*Peucedanum galbanum          bergseldery               blisterbush

Pittosporum veridifolium        kasuur                                                          umkhwenkhwe

Plumbago auriculata                syselbos          Plumbago                             umabhophe

Poligala myrtifolia                                                                                        ithethe

Psoralea affinis                      blou keur

Psoralea pinnata                     blou keur                                                      umhlonitchwa

Rapanea melanophloeos         Kaapse boekenhout       Cape beech     isiqalaba-sehlathi         umaphipa -Z

Rauwolfia  caffra                                                        quinine tree          umhlambamase

Rhoicissus tridentata            bobejaantou          wild grape                         chitibunga

*Ricinus communis            kasterolieboom      caster oil plant     umhlakuva  Don’t eat

Rumex lanceolatus               tongblaar                                                   idololenkonyane

Sansifera hyacinthoides      aambeiwortel        mother in law's tongue   isikholokotho

Scabiosa columbaria           bitterwortel                                                      ibheka

Sceletium tortuosum            kougoed

Searsia lanceolata                                 –  umhlute wezinja – to be satisfied like a dog

Searsia undulata                  tande borsel              toothbrush

Sideroxylon inerme              melkhout                   white milk-wood               umaphipa X

Silene undulatum        ֎   Die wit pad                 The white road                  ubulau

Silene belledoides       ֎   Die wit pad                 The white road                  ubulau

Siphonochius aethiopicus  X  Afrika gemmer        wild ginger                  isiphephetho

Solanum aculeastrum           Gifappel                                                            ithuma    Don’t eat  Fruit, external use only.

Stangeria eriopus                                                  stangeria                          imfingwane

Tabernathmontana elegans  Laeveldse paddaboom

*Terminalia sericea            Vaalboom                Silver cluster-leaf             amangwe

Tulbaghia violacea              wilde knoffel          wild garlic  

Typha capensis                    papkuil                    bulrush                               ibhuma

Vernonia oligocephala        groenamara    

Viscum capense                   lidjiestee            cape mistletoe                        umakhwela

Warburgia salutaris        X    peperbasboom    pepper-bark tree     isibharha Frost**S

*Xymalobium undulatum      bitterwortel                                                      ishongwe

Zanthoxylum capense          kleinperdepram  Small knob-wood             umlungumabele

Zizipus mucronata            X   blinkblaar wag 'n bietjie  Buffalo thorn       umphafa

Green vine                                                                                                        impinda