Inspector Indigenous – Hypericum aethiopicum
It is impossible to confuse the delicate little Hypericum aethiopicum with the alien Hypericum- St John’s Wort (which is rapidly invading the KZN midlands), as this one is low growing and seldom taller than 40cm. It occurs in open grassland and flowers for most of the Summer, particularly noticeable after fires. The bright yellow flowers are tinged with red and attract many insects. The stalkless leaves are heart-shaped at the base.
Just as the alien Hypericum has been used in medicine for centuries, many medicinal uses are recorded for this indigenous species too including: ear complaints; liquid from boiled leaves to heal sores and in treatment of venereal diseases; roots for backache resulting from kidney complaints and, in Lesotho, during puberty for young women.
The pretty Hypericum lalandii is also flowering now – it has a spindly growth form, sometimes solitary flowers and occurs in damp areas as well as grassland. Spotted and photographed recently in Mpophomeni – see what other floral treasures were found: www.midlandsconservanciesforum.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/summer-walk-in-mpophomeni/
Supplied by the Midlands Conservancies Forum