The Karoo Boer-been tree is small in stature (max. height 5 m), evergreen, with rigid branches and has a gnarled trunk. The flowers are numerous, bright red to pink in colour and are borne in small clusters during the months of February to March. They are distributed throughout the tree.
Flowers produce copious amounts of nectar which attract birds, especially the Lesser Double-collared Sunbird and Malachite Sunbird. The butterfly Dantalis breeds in the tree. Flowers are followed by attractive, large, lime green to pink seedpods which turn brown when ripe. The seed is dispersed through an explosive seedpod, which when dry, catapults the seeds great distances from the parent plant. Seeds are produced in May and June of each year. Under normal circumstances the seeds would germinate in moist soil in late spring after the winter rains.
It has a number of interesting uses. A decoction of the bark is taken to treat heartburn and hangovers. Bark and root mixtures are used to strengthen the body and purify the blood, to treat nervous heart conditions and diarrhoea, as well as for facial saunas. The seeds are edible after roasting, and although low in fat and protein they have a high carbohydrate content.
The trees often occur along the banks of dry streams and small rivers in the Little Karoo, the drier areas of Eastern Cape, including Sibuya Game Reserve and the southern part of Western Cape.
Weeping bride’s bush or Christmas bush. In full flower, this bush (pavetta lanceolata), looks like a bride adorned in pure white, full of expectations and hope for a long and happy life, hence the common name. The alternative common name is also apt as these bushes are in full flower during Christmas time.
Rubiaceae (gardenia family, katjiepiering-familie)
weeping bride’s bush, bridal bush, Christmas bush ( Eng. ); treurbruidsbos, bruidsbos (Afr.); umhleza, ilitoba, umgonogono, umphonyana (Xhosa); igololembuzi, umdleza (Zulu); mufhanza, tshituku ( Venda )
Pavetta lanceolata is an evergreen tree or shrub, up to 5(7) m high, regularly decussately branched (opposite pair at right angles to next pair). The bark is greyish white.
Distribution and habitat
Pavetta lanceolata is fairly common in the summer rainfall areas of South Africa, in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Swaziland, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. It also occurs in southern Mozambique. It often grows in association with other bushes in bush clumps, on forest margins and river banks, and can be found in abundance on Sibuya.
The sweet-smelling Weeping Bride’s Bush (Pavetta) is in flower all over the Reserve at the moment – a gorgeous sight and a delight to the bees!
Virtually the whole year round SIBUYA has flowers adding interest and colour to the landscape… even in the middle of winter! At the moment the forest margins and woodlands are festooned with pungently scented yellow flowers belonging to succulent creepers and shrubs, Senecio brachypodus and Senecio tamoides – CANARY CREEPER. The congested clusters of bright yellow flowers create a visual feast as they attract a host of white to deep yellow butterflies (Pieridae), which add their subtle colour range to the spectacle. These plants are sought after in traditional medicine as they may be used in the treatment of Anthrax in cattle and flatulence!
The creeper TRAVELLER’S JOY (Clematis brachiata) is in evidence everywhere. With the light behind it, as it sprawls over shrubs along the wayside, it looks like its wreathing the plants in candy floss. Gorgeous vermilion ALOE FERROX flowers are in evidence in various areas of SIBUYA … where the elephants can’t get to demolish them! The nectar of these bright robust flowers provides a feast for many species of birds, butterflies, monkeys and even elephants… all enjoy this sweetest of treats and even perhaps, the narcotic effects…
A glorious tapestry of colour
Sibuya Game Reserve
Birding enthusiasts can take a boat or canoe up the estuary to search for some of the 6 varieties of local kingfisher. Or head downstream to the beach to see the multitude of waders, terns and gulls. A walk in the pristine thicket forest is the best way to see the shy Narina Trogon and every game drive reveals a host of raptors from the common buzzards to the more rare Bateleur, Crowned Eagle or Fish Eagles. Night drives are made special by the numbers and varieties of owls and nightjars caught in the spot light.
If you are planning an African Safari, or want to stay at a Game Reserve in South Africa, or a Game Reserve near the Garden Route, or are looking for that perfect Game Reserve Wedding Venue, then why not visit Sibuya for that ultimate African Bush Experience! Sibuya is a Malaria Free Game Reserve…