Plants photographed on Kyffhäuser
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Eriocephalus ambiguus (DC.) M.A.N.Müll.

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Eriocephalus ambiguus

Image 1
15 Jun 2008

Eriocephalus ambiguus

Image 2
16 Jun 2008

Eriocephalus ambiguus

Image 3
Spiny branch tips
21 Sep 2008

Eriocephalus ambiguus

Image 4
Plant covered with fluffy
24 Mar 2008

Eriocephalus ambiguus

Image 5
Fluffy seeds
24 Mar 2008

Eriocephalus ambiguus

Image 6
24 Mar 2008

Family: Asteraceae
Full name: Eriocephalus ambiguus (DC.) M.A.N.Müll.
ID status: ID not 100% certain
Afrikaans common name(s): Kapokbos, Doringkapok
English common name(s): Common snow-bush
Synonym(s): Eriocephalus aspalathoides var. ambiguus DC.
Eriocephalus aspalathoides DC. (1938) - p.p.
Eriocephalus aspalathoides Harv. - p.p.
Eriocephalus aspalathoides Merxm. - p.p.
Status: Native
Description: Many-stemmed, erect, much-branched, spinescent shrubs, 0.3-0.6 m high and up to 450 mm in diameter. Older stems with grey-brown bark, deeply grooved, eventually displaying anomalous secondary growth, 10-20 mm in diameter, breaking up into independent daughter plants; young branches yellow-brown, later yellow-grey to grey-brown, irregularly sympo-dially branched, tips of branches spinescent, 1-18 mm long; brachyblasts 1-10 mm long, short-lived. Leaves basally semilunate, adaxially concave, those on dolichoblasts alternate, linear, 4-15 x 0.5 mm, entire, densely silver-grey shortly pilose to pilose, apex obtuse; leaves on brachyblasts scale-like, rosulate, 2-4 x 0.5 mm, entire, apex obtuse. Capitula heterogamous disciform, 4 mm long, solitary on brachyblasts, rarely in terminal racemes; peduncles 1-11 mm long, shortly pilose. Involucral bracts 4 or 5, 2.5 x 1.5 mm, green, with narrow, sometimes purplish, membranous margin, ovate, flattened, abaxially appressed sericeous. Paleae: those of marginal florets free, 2 x 1.5 mm, keeled, lanceolate, apices fringed, abaxially long-pilose, hairs septate, adaxially smooth, glabrous; those of disc florets oblong-linear, membranous, apex fringed, 1 x 0.5 mm, abaxially long-pilose, adaxially smooth. Marginal female florets 2-5, yellow, inconspicuous, 2.0-2.5 mm long; lamina absent; corolla tubular-filiform, much shorter than branched style. Style branches flattened, linear, apex acute, 1-2 mm long. Ovary (and cypsela) oblong-ovoid, slightly flattened, densely lanate at maturity. Seed 1-2 mm long, flattish, trigonous. Disc florets 5-21, yellow, functionally male with sterile ovary, 2.5-3.0 mm long; corolla tubular, widening upwards, 5-toothed; teeth sometimes tinged red-purple. Stamens 5, exserted at maturity. Style unbranched, globose, truncate with short, sweeping hairs. Receptacle after anthesis with long, soft hairs between involucral bracts and marginal paleae. Chromosome number. 2n=18. Flowering time: January to April. (from JSTOR Global Plants website / Flora of Southern Africa)

During good rainy seasons E. ambiguus tends to form long, drooping shoots without spines and with long leaves similar to E. luederitianus instead of the typical spinescent habit with rigid branches and very short leaves. (from Flora of Southern Africa)

Terminale groeipunt omvorm tot stingeldoring. (from MAN Müller PhD thesis, 1988)
Link(s) African Plant Database
JSTOR Plant Science
Kew Herbarium Catalogue
BGBM Berlin-Dahlem - Virtual Herbarium
Züricher Herbarien
iNaturalist (Namibia / Alex Dreyer)
iNaturalist (Namibia)
iNaturalist (southern Africa)
Flora of Zimbabwe
Fleurs de notre Terre - Galerie Namibie
Tree Atlas of Namibia
Content last updated: 18 Apr 2024

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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Last updated on 18 Apr 2024

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