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Aspalathus Linearis

   (Family: Fabaceae)
Afrikaans: Rooibostee, bossietee English: Rooibos tea  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 0.5 - 2m
Special properties:
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Preferred rainfall: Winter
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
  Sand (coarse texture, drains easily)
pH: acid
Flowering time EDIT
                x x x x
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower shape
Flower type
  Flower info
  Small, yellow, typically pea-shaped flowers are produced in spring and early summer. They are solitary or arranged in dense groups at the tips of branches.
Leaf shape EDIT
Leaf size 15 - 60mm
  Leaf info EDIT
  Bright green, neddle-shaped leaves,15-60 mm long and up to about 1 mm thick. They are without stalks and stipules and may be densely clustered.
Sow seeds in Autumn
  Seeds per fruit 2
  Seed info EDIT
  The fruit is a small lance-shaped pod usually containing one or two hard seeds.
Description EDIT
A shrub of half a metre to two metres in height, with bright green, needle-shaped leaves which turn a rich red-brown colour upon fermentation.
Growing EDIT
Distribution EDIT
The plant is endemic to the western parts of the Cape, and occurs naturally from the Cape Peninsula northwards to Nieuwoudtville, Clanwilliam, Citrusdal and Picketberg districts.
History EDIT
Rooibos tea is a traditional beverage of the Khoi-descended people of the Clanwilliam region in the Cape.
It has become an important commercial crop.
Local people harvested the wild plants and produced tea by a process of cutting (twigs and leaves) with axes, bruising them with wodden hammers, fermenting the product in heaps and finally drying it.

The main medicinal use of rooibos tea is as a milk substitute for infants who are prone to colic. It is considered to have significant anti-spasmodic activity.

Rooibos tea is also popular as a health beverage, because it contains no harmful stimulants and is totally devoid of caffeine.
There is growing evidence that flavonoids contribute substantially to a reduction in heart disease and other ailments associated with aging.

Rooibos tea is also used as an ingredient in cosmetics, as there have been claims that it is beneficial in cases of eczema.
Ecology EDIT
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  • Ben-Erik van Wyk, (2005), Medicinal Plants of South Africa ,Briza Publications  


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