Plants photographed on Kyffhäuser
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Myrothamnus flabellifolius Welw.


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Myrothamnus flabellifolius

Habit (rainy season)



Family: Myrothamnaceae
Full name: Myrothamnus flabellifolius Welw.
Location: Kyffhäuser (2416AD + 2416CB)
ID status: Fairly certain
Afrikaans common name(s): Opstandingsplant, Teebossie, Wonderbos, Sinkingsbos
English common name(s): Resurrection bush, Resurrection plant, Bush tea
Synonym(s): Cliffortia flabellifolia Sond.
Myrothamnus flabellifolius Welw. subsp. elongata Weim. uncertain synonymy.
Myrothamnus flabellifolius Welw. subsp. robusta Weim.
Status: Native
Description: Prostrate, ascending or erect subshrub, growing up to 1 m, occasionally taller. The plants completely dry up in winter and seem to be dead (image 4) but spring back to life within hours after the first shower of rain (image 1). Flowers much reduced in small catkin like inflorescences, sexes separate (image 2). (from Flora of Zimbabwe website)

A prostrate, ascending or erect shrub, much branched, usually 30–90 cm tall (stated to grow up to 2 m); young branches tetragonous, the angles narrowly winged; branches soon becoming woody and subspinulose with the persistent stipules and petioles; older branches with bark fissuring longitudinally. Leaves decussately disposed along fast-growing long branches or congested on lateral short branches. Leaf-laminae (8)10–14(20) x (3)6–8(15) mm, d: rhombic, the apex (3)5–7(ll)-crenate-dentate, the base entire and cuneate, digitately nerved (nerves sometimes 2-furcate near the apex), closely longitudinally pleated when dry, articulated with the petiole; petiole (1)2–3(5) mm long, subvaginate; stipules subulate, connate with the petiole at the base and exceeding it by 1–3 mm. Inflorescences usually 2–3 cm long, rarely up to 5 cm, terminal on the lateral short branches; each flower sessile in the axil of a single, elliptic to ovate, usually obtuse bract 1.2–1.8 x c. 1.0 mm; bracts persistent after flower- and fruit-fall; female inflorescences stouter than the male . male flowers reduced to (3)5–6(?8) stamens; filaments filiform and connate at the base into a central column; anthers oblong, reddish, after dehiscence presenting an asymmetric X-shaped cross-section; connective prolonged into a short, curved beak. Female flowers zygomorphic, reduced to (2)3 green carpels connate only at the base and tapering into short, outwardly curved styles presenting purple, oblong, inwardly facing stigmas. Capsule coriaceous with carpels somewhat enlarged, deeply (2-)3-lobed, crowned by the persistent styles and stigmas. Seeds c. 0.5 mm long., ovoid to tetragonal. (from JSTOR Global Plants website / Flora Zambesiaca)

Myrothamnus flabellifolius is a small resinous shrub let, about 0.2– 1.2 m in height. It occurs singly or in colonies with extensive root systems that extend into the crevices of the rocky outcrops with soil depths of around 15 cm. Its roots are able to intercept water draining into these hollows after rainfall, thereby initiating re-hydration. Its leaves are opposite, with broad tips, wavy, folding fan-like, with the stalk sheathing at the base forming a joint with the blade. The stem is rigid, much branched and aromatic. The plant is dioecious, meaning the male and female reproductive organs are borne on separate individuals of the same species. The tiny flowers, without calyx or corolla, are borne in small catkin-like inflorescences usually occurring on short lateral branches. The male flowers, which consist of three to six stamens with reddish anthers that dehisce (split open) longitudinally, produce abundant amounts of yellow, tricolpate (having three openings) pollen grains at maturity. The female flowers are zygomorphic (irregular) and consist of three basally attached carpels (organs which enclose the ovules and become part of the fruit) with papillose (covered with soft, nipple-shaped bulges), spathulate (spoon-shaped) stigmas that are reddish-purple and feather-like in appearance. Flowering occurs from September to November. The fruits are three-lobed, leathery, dehiscent capsules, which are slightly larger than the carpels at anthesis. (from http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantklm/myrothamflabell.htm)
Link(s) African Plant Database
JSTOR Plant Science
Kew Herbarium Catalogue
BGBM Berlin-Dahlem - Virtual Herbarium
Züricher Herbarien
iSpot:  157886 
Flora of Zimbabwe
Fleurs de notre Terre - Galerie Namibie
Tree Atlas of Namibia
Photographer: LL Dreyer
Date of photograph: 29 Jun 2006
Camera make: SONY
Camera model: DSC-P100
Lens aperture: f/2.8
Shutter speed: 1/200 s
ISO speed: 100
Content last updated: 21 Mar 2018


Note: The identification of some of the plants on this website is not 100% certain. Any comments will be highly appreciated. I would also be willing to supply higher resolution images upon request. Please contact me at the e-mail address given below.

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