These are followed by inflated, oval, yellow-green seedpods covered with soft green hairs that pop to release silky seeds that are carried off by the wind.
It is the host for the African Monarch butterfly and is thus a good element for a butterfly garden.
Aspilia mossambicensisis a hardy, evergreen, shrubby perennial with rather stiff branches. Leaves are roughly hairy above, densely hairy but softer below.
Flowers are borne in lax terminal heads and are golden yellow to orange. The plant is reminiscent of a jolly, yellow Cosmos and flowers from spring to autumn.
Attracts butterflies and tiny pollinating insects to the garden.
Use in a mixed, colourful border or create pretty, floriferous containers.
Can tolerate light frost and drought. Prune regularly to keep tidy and promote flowering.
Plant in compost-rich soil, in full sun or semi-shade.
Size: up to 70cm
Vigna vexillata is a hardy, deciduous herbaceous climber or scrambler that has long, hairy stems that arise from a tuberous underground root. The dark green leaves divide into three leaflets, and are covered in flattened hairs, giving them a rough texture. Pink to purplish flowers are borne in Spring and early summer, and attract pollinating insects. These are followed by long thin seed pods that split to release the small hard seeds.
Looks lovely trailing through a grassland garden or planted were it can climb up a short trellis or fence. The leaves and tubers are eaten as a food plant.
Plant in full sun in well drained soil.
Size: climbs to 3m
Gomphocarpus physocarpus (was Asclepias physocarpa) is a very hardy, evergreen, upright soft shrub with pale yellowish green branches and light green, lance-shaped leaves. From November to April it bears pendulous clusters of white flowers with a pinky-purple centre (corona). These highly specialized flowers are pollinated by vespid wasps. The distinctive inflated fruits are yellowish-green tinged with purple, and covered in hair-like structures. All parts of the plant weep poisonos white latex when damaged or cut.
It is the host plant of the African Monarch Butterfly (Danaus chrysippus orientis) and the toxic alkaloids that the caterpillars ingest are carried through to the pupae and the butterfly to make them highly distasteful to predators. The fruit are decorative in a vase – make sure not to get any of the sap / latex on the skin and wash hands thoroughly after handling.
Beautiful in a grassland garden or as a tall feature at the back of a flower bed.
Plant in full sun or very light semi-shade, in well drained soil.
Size: up to 2m