Plants photographed elsewhere in Namibia (not on Kyffhäuser)
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Cissampelos capensis L.f.

Cissampelos capensis

Leaves on new growth

Family: Menispermaceae
Full name: Cissampelos capensis L.f.
Location: Naukluft (2416AC)
ID status: Fairly certain
Afrikaans common name(s): Dawidjieswortel, Dawidtjiewortel, Dawidjie, Dawidjies, Davidjies, Davidjieswortel, Gifhondje, Bitterhoutjie, Fynblaarklimop
English common name(s): -
Synonym(s): Antizoma capensis (L.f.) Diels
Antizoma capensis (L.f.) Diels var. pulverulenta Harv.
Cissampelos fruticosa L.f.
Cissampelos humilis Poir.
Status: Native
Description: Shrubby, densely branched, partly voluble; leaves petioled, ovate or roundish, obtuse or subacute, glabrous or pubescent; male cymes much shorter than the leaves; umbels of female flowers axillary, sessile; drupes glabrous. A small, erect or spreading, much and closely branched shrub; the upper branches trailing or twining round other shrubs. Young twigs downy. Leaves 0.5– 0.75 inch long, on slender, downy petioles. Flowers very minute, densely woolly, crowded in the axils of the leaves.—Colonial name, Davidjès; the roots are emetic and purgative; the leaves poisonous to cattle (Pappe). (from JSTOR Global Plants website / Flora Capensis)

Cissampelos capensis is a shrub that grows to 1,5 cm in height. Its branches often sprawl, sometimes twine. Has Afrikaans vernacular names of dawidjieswortel (little Davidís root), dawidjies or even dawwetjies. It is one of several plants named for a mythical root that King David had supposedly known where to dig for, surviving in an Afrikaans idiom (Waar Dawid die wortels gegrawe het), indicating knowledge of what is going on. A descriptive vernacular name also exists in Afrikaans: fynblaarklimop meaning fine-leaf creeper. The species is distributed widely from Namibia to the Eastern Cape. The lowland habitat in variable vegetation has clay or loam soils. The male and female flowers of Cissampelos capensis grow on different plants of this dioecious species. Profuse blooming in dense clusters may be a festive affair in summer and autumn, although the individual flower is small and inconspicuous. The alternate leaves of Cissampelos capensis are broadly ovate to cordate (oval to heart-shaped) and nearly hairless. The entire leaf margins show some fine, granular or hairy unevenness in the bright light of the photo, as well as one leaf with a dark red margin. Leaves grow on long stalks (up to 3 cm) and become about 2,5 cm long, equally broad. The flowers of Cissampelos capensis grow from leaf axils. They are greenish yellow, male and female ones occurring on separate plants. This male plant has flowers with four petals spreading widely. Female flowers have only one sepal and one petal each. The stamens are attached to each other, erect in the flower centre. The brown anthers form a ring on the staminal column. The small, velvety hairy flowers become about 3 mm in diameter. The flowers are followed by small ovoid, orange berries. The new leaves of Cissampelos capensis are greener than the often glaucous or blue-green older ones. The midrib and lateral veins are prominent upon the young leaves. Sparse, tiny hairs are present, appearing granular; these are absent from the mature leaves. Most leaves deviate from a circular shape by forming slight, rounded tips; the tips may sometimes be more marked, the leaf shape generally somewhat variable. (from
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
Photographer: AA Dreyer
Date of photograph: 14 Dec 2017
Camera make: Canon
Camera model: EOS 7D
Lens aperture: f/9.0
Shutter speed: 1/2000 s
ISO speed: 1000
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 18 Apr 2024

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