Plants photographed elsewhere in Namibia (not on Kyffhäuser)
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Gomphocarpus fruticosus (L.) W.T.Aiton subsp. fruticosus


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Gomphocarpus fruticosus subsp fruticosus

Leaves and fruit



Family: Asclepiadaceae
Full name: Gomphocarpus fruticosus (L.) W.T.Aiton subsp. fruticosus
Location: along B6 between Windhoek and airport (2217CB)
ID status: Fairly certain
Afrikaans common name(s): Gansie(s), Blaasoppies, Kapokbossie, Tontelbos, Melkbos, Tontelbossie, Wilde kapok
English common name(s): Milkweed, Wild cotton, Firesticks, Narrow-leaved cotton-bush, Shrubby milkweed
Synonym(s): Asclepias cornuta (Decne.) Cordem.
Gomphocarpus cornutus Decne. (1838)
Asclepias abyssinica (Decne.) N.E.Br.
Gomphocarpus crinitus G.Bertol.
Asclepias crinita (G.Bertol.) N.E.Br.
Gomphocarpus frutescens E.Mey.
Gomphocarpus verticillatus Turcz. (1848)
Gomphocarpus angustifolius (Schweigg.) Link
Asclepias angustifolia Schweigg.
Gomphocarpus arachnoideus E.Fourn.
Asclepias glabra Mill.
Asclepias crassifolia Decne.
Asclepias salicifolia Salisb.
Status: Native
Description: Shrubby perennial herb, usually branching from near the base. Stems woody near the base, densely pubescent. Leaves opposite, linear to linear-lanceolate, 4-12 cm long, leathery, more or less densely pubescent and with soft white hairs on the midrib and margins, pointed and mucronate at the apex; margin often rolled under. Flowers in extra-axillary, 4-12-flowered nodding umbels. Corolla reflexed, white or cream; corona lobes attached c. 1.5mm above the base of the staminal column, cream to green, more or less as tall as the column, laterally compressed. Follicle erect on a twisted pedicel, ovoid, inflated, up to 7 × 2.5 cm, distinctly beaked, more or less densely covered in soft bristles. (from Flora of Zimbabwe website)

A shrub 3–10 ft. high; branches erect, puberulous; leaves more or less ascending; petiole 2–4 lin. long; blade 2–6 in. long, 2–9 lin. broad, linear or linear-lanceolate, acute or acuminate, mucronate, or rarely aristate, cuneate-acute at the base, with revolute margins, glabrous or minutely puberulous; umbels pedunculate, lateral at the nodes, racemose, 6–10-flowered; peduncles 0.75–1.5 in. long, pubescent or puberulous; bracts 3–4 lin. long, linear-subulate, puberulous, deciduous; pedicels 0.5– 0.75 in. long, puberulous; sepals 1.5–2 lin. long, lanceolate, acuminate, pubescent or puberulous; corolla-lobes reflexed, 3.5–4 lin. long, 2 lin. broad, ovate-oblong, obtuse, glabrous on both sides, usually but not always ciliate along one margin; corona-lobes arising about 0.5 lin. above the base of the staminal column and reaching its summit, erect, compressed-cucullate, subrectangular in side view, with the apical angles of the sides produced into recurving narrowly falcate teeth, rising considerably above the rest of the lobe, their tips incurved towards each other; margins of the sides narrowly winged outside; no tooth or horn within; follicles 2–3 in. long, ovoid, tapering into a beak, minutely tomentose and beset with bristles, which are nearly or quite glabrous. (from JSTOR Global Plants website / Flora Capensis)

A shrub 3–10 ft. high; branches erect, pubescent or puberulous. Leaves more or less ascending; petiole 2–4 lin. long; blade 2–6 in. long, 2–9 lin. broad, linear to linear-lanceolate, acute or acuminate, mucronate, or rarely aristate, cuneate-acute at the base, narrowly re volute along the margins, glabrous or puberulous, especially on the midrib beneath. Umbels pedunculate, lateral at the nodes and terminal, 6–10-flowered; peduncles 0.75–1.5 in. long, pubescent; bracts 3–4 lin. long, linear, acuminate, deciduous; pedicels 0.5– 0.75 in. long, pubescent. Sepals 3 lin. long, lanceolate, acuminate, pubescent. Corolla 5-lobed nearly to the base, white; lobes reflexed, 4 lin. long, 2 lin. broad, ovate-oblong, obtuse, glabrous on both sides, usually ciliate along one margin, but sometimes without cilia. Coronal-lobes arising about 0.5 lin. above the base of the 2 lin. long staminal-column, and reaching to its summit, erect, complicate-cucullate, with the apical angles of the inflexed sides produced into recurving teeth, that rise considerably above the general level of the rest of the lobe and have their tips incurved towards each other; margins of the inflexed sides narrowly winged outside; no tooth or horn within. Follicles 2–3 in. long, ovate, attenuate into a beak, setose and minutely tomentose, but the setæ nearly or quite glabrous. (from JSTOR Global Plants website / Flora of Tropical Africa)

Multi-stemmed shrub, light brown stems branch higher up to form the crown. Evergreen and hardy. Often with watery or milky sap. Leaves are pale to mid-green, long and narrow. Flowers attractive, carried in pendulous clusters. Fruit is a inflated, pale green to light brown, papery follicle, covered with bristle-like hairs and narrowing into a curved tip, containing dark seeds. The seeds are attached from cotton-like silky hairs that aid in their dispersal. (from Grootfontein Herbarium website)
Link(s) African Plant Database
JSTOR Plant Science
Kew Herbarium Catalogue
BGBM Berlin-Dahlem - Virtual Herbarium
Züricher Herbarien
iSpot:  203617 
Flora of Zimbabwe
Fleurs de notre Terre - Galerie Namibie
Tree Atlas of Namibia
Photographer: AA Dreyer
Date of photograph: 18 Jun 2013
Camera make: Panasonic
Camera model: DMC-FZ45
Lens aperture: f/5.6
Shutter speed: 1/500 s
ISO speed: 200
Content last updated: 01 Jul 2014


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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