IsiXhosa: umsongelwa, Umclealaabo
Description and diagnostic features
It is a small bush with large cylindrical roots.
It has round leaves on long stems (petioles).
It has very long stems, about half a meter, carrying the flowers. Black or very dark red flowers that smell like roses.
Strongly antiseptic and so clears both flue symptoms and helps very well with wound healing.
One of the stories goes that an English soldier that was wounded during the Anglo-Boer war was treated for his wounds on a Free State farm with this root. He recovered so rapidly that he took a plant to the British Gardens in London where it was propagated. Later it was taken to Germany and there turned into a popular Flu remedy.
It loves heavy clay well drained soils and can easily recover from frost.
With those big roots it can easily survive dry spells in clay soils.
It grows well on south facing slopes. It is found in grasslands from the Free State down to the hills of the Eastern Cape.
Twigs with a bit of root quickly forms a whole new plant.