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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. Sometimes they must be protected for a while until they grow tall enough to get out of the frost zone.

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         Umhlonyane

Ballota africana               Kattekruid           Cat bush                          Isinazi

Bulbine frutescens          Balsem kopiva, nierbossie, bulbinella        Ibucu

Bulbine natalensis           Rooiwortel            Red water                       Matshetshafike

Carpobrotus edulis          Suurvy                Sour fig                           Gcukuma

Dodonaea angustifolia * Sandolien           Sand olive                        Mutzuwe

Geranium incanum      O Vrouetee             Carpet geranium              Uqhobelo

Gunnera perpensa      O Rivierpampoen   Wild rhubarb                    Tangazana

Helichrysum               ֎ Kooigoed             Everlastings                      Imphepho

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  Umclealoabo

Ruta graveolens       *  O Wynruit                  Rue, herb of grace                            Frost S**

Seriphium plumosum       Slangbos                Snakebush

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

Adenia gummifera          X                            Green vine                          impinda

Agapanthus africanus   O Blou lelie          blue lily                             isicakathi, ubani Z

Alepidea amatymbica   * Kalmoes                                                            iquili

Ansellia africana                                         tiger orchid                          imfe-nkawu

Arctotis echinatus        * Moedertroos                                                    ikataza

Aristea afra                  * Moerbossie, maagbossie

Gomphocarpus fruticosus     Tontelbos           milkweed                         umsinga-lwesalukazi

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                  Umemezi

Catha edulis                     Boesmantee                                                       Umhlwazi

Centella asiatica              varkoortjies           Pennywort                         Inyongo

Chironia baciffera          bitter bessie bos             

Cissampelos capensis      dawidjiewortel                                                  Mayisake

Clematis bracheata                                         traveller’s joy                   Ityolo

Cliffortia odorata           wilde wingerd

Clivia miniata                X boslelie                                                              Umayime

Cnicus benedictus       * mak karmedik         holy thistle                         maxaba

Cotyledon orbiculata       plakkie                                                              Imphewula

Curtisia dentata           X assegaai                                                            umlahleni selefile

Dicoma anamala           * pisvêr                                                                 uNyongwana

Dioscorea dregeana        bospatat                                                           isidakwa  Don’t eat

Diospyros lyciodes          bloubos           bluebush ♀                                 Umbhongisa

Diospyros whiteana                                bladder nut ♂                            

Elephantorhiza elephantina   * elandsboontjie                                         intolwane

Elytropappus rhinocerotis    renosterbos                                                  uvuvuvu

Eriocephalus africanus        kapokbos                  wild rosemary             uqaqa

Erythrina cafra                X  Koraalboom               Coral tree                   impinda

Eucomis autumnalis               wilde pynappel        Pineapple flower        umathunga

Galenia africana               *  kraalbos

Galium spp                         * Jongmansliefde                                             pendulu

Gloriosa superba                                                             flame lily             Don’t eat

Glycerrhiza glabra           *  Soethoutwortel                Liquorice              mlomo-mnandi

Haemanthus albiflos        ֎                                            white flower       umatunga

Haemanthus coccineus                                       Red flower April fool     umatunga

Halleria lucida                                                                  Lucky plant

Haworthia  spp                                                                 Family plant

Harpephyllum caffrum       wilde pruim                                                     umgwenya

Hypoxis                                Afrika artappel         African potato    ilabatega , inkomfe

Ilix mitis                              Kaapse                        Cape holly                    isidumo

Ipomoea oblongata          *                                                                          boqho

Anenome (Knowltonia)  vesicatoria        katjiedrieblaar                          vutusa

Lippa javanica                         verkoue tee                                                  inzinziniba

Merwilla plumbea                   blouberglelie              Blue squil                  Inguduza

Morella quercifolia                wasbessie wax-berry                                   maluleka

Ocotea bullata                        stinkhoud                                                     unukani

Olea europaea                         olienhout                       olive                      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                                                      umhlonitchwa

Psoralea pinnata                     blou keur                                                      umhlonitchwa

Ptaeroxylon obliquum            Nieshout                   Sneezwood                umthathe

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

Rauwolfia  caffra                  kinaboom                        quinine tree         umhlambamase

Rhoicissus tridentata            bobejaantou          wild grape                      chitibunga

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

Rumex lanceolatus               tongblaar                                                   idololenkonyane

Salvia africana-lutea           Bruin salie              brown sage                        

Salvia chamelaelaegnea      Blou salie                 blue sage                            

Sansifera hyacinthoides      aambeiwortel        mother in law's tongue       isikholokotho

Scabiosa columbaria           bitterwortel                                                        ibheka

Sceletium tortuosum            kougoed, kanna                                                 intozani

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

Searsia undulata                  tande borsel              toothbrush Karoo kunibush  Kuni -San

Securidaca longipendunculata  krinkhout            violet tree                        mpesu

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, Notolano guaiano

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                                      umKhahlwana

Terminalia sericea          *  Vaalboom                Silver cluster-leaf             amangwe

Tulbaghia violacea              wilde knoffel          wild garlic                          isihaqa -z

Typha capensis                    papkuil                    bulrush            ibhuma -z , ingcongolo -x

Vernonia oligocephala        groenamara                                                  ihambihlosane - z

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

Ganoderma lucidum          *  Oranjebruin vernisswam    Reishi                   

Ganoderma applanatum     * Paletswam                           Atist’s pallette