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Coleonema album

   (Family: Rutaceae)
   
Afrikaans: Aasbossie, Klipboegoe English: White confetti bush, Cape May  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 2m
Rarity Status:
Common
   
Preferred rainfall: Winter
Preferred altitude: 0 - 750m
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Biome: Fynbos
 
Flowering time EDIT
        x x x x x x x  
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
 
White
 
Pink
Flower type
 
  Polinator
  Insects
  Flower info
  The inflorescence is solitary, axillary and crowded at the branch tips. Closed flower buds are pinkish tinged and appear white when open. Flowers are small, white, 6-7 mm in diameter with a dark green disc at the centre. Crowded at the branch tips are 5-11 blooms. The flowers are carried in such profusion that the bush is a cloud of white when in flower and attracts bees and butterflies.
 
 
Leaf shape EDIT
 
  Leaf scent
  Sweet smell
 
Leaf size 12 - 13mm
  Leaf info EDIT
  Evergreen
  Finely branched and new shoots develop at the tips of old branches. Leaves are needle-like / linear-oblong are 12-13.5 mm x 1.3-1.5 mm broad. Oil glands are visible on the reverse side of the leaves. The leaves when crushed have a characteristic sweet smell.
 
 
 
  Seed info EDIT
  Ripe fruits may be found up to end of November. The fruit is 5-lobed and ripe seed are ejected by a catapult mechanism. Regeneration takes place from seed.
 
 
Description EDIT
Decorative shrub with dainty, small white flowers and sweet, honey smell make this buchu an ideal garden plant and interesting specimen for floral arrangements.
Growing EDIT
This species requires full sun and soil that is acid, well drained and composted. Add a layer of mulch to keep the soil and roots cool in summer, retain soil moisture and reduce weeds. Buchus are best planted out during the winter-spring season. Plants require good watering in winter and moderate watering in summer. Do not allow plants to dry out. Once established in your garden they will survive long periods of drought.

Coleonema album is easily grown from seed. Fresh seed is collected from the previous year's flowers and stored in brown paper bags upon ripening. The optimum time for sowing is during autumn. Seed are cleaned and sown on a prepared medium of sand and compost in equal parts in a seed tray. Cover seed with a thin layer of bark and water. Place seed trays in a covered area with good light and ventilation. Keep seed trays damp and germination will take place within 1 to 2 months. Seedlings are pricked out when 4 true leaves have developed. The growing tips of seedlings are pinched out to encourage bushy growth. Feed buchus regularly with a balanced nutrient

Cuttings have the advantage of producing a larger flowering plant quicker than seedlings. Tip cuttings, 50-70 mm, are taken from the current year's growth from August to October. Prepare cuttings by making a clean cut below the node and remove a third of the foliage. Dip the base of the cutting in a rooting hormone. Firmly place the cuttings in a medium of 50 % bark and 50 % polystyrene. Ideally these cuttings should now be placed in a well-aerated propagation unit with a bottom heat of 24°C. Rooting occurs in 9 to 11 weeks. Carefully pot the rooted cuttings using a well-drained humus riched fynbos-potting medium (2 parts leafmould, 1 part coarse sand). Plants will be ready for planting in 7 to 8 months. Feed regularly with a well-balanced nutrient. Yellow leaves can be treated with an application of iron chelate.
Distribution EDIT
Coleonema album occurs from Saldanha Bay to the Cape Peninsula and as far east as Bredasdorp.

This buchu appears to be very much a coastal plant, able to withstand strong coastal winds. The only population at any great distance from the sea lies at the southern end of the Bredasdorp Mountains about 19 km from the sea. Plants are found growing amongst outcrops of rocks of the Table Mountain Sandstone series or of the underlying Cape granite, but never on the coastal limestone of the Bredasdorp Series. Plants grow at sea level and up to a maximum altitude of 750 m on Table Mountain.
History EDIT
Uses EDIT
It is an excellent coastal plant and can be used as a topiary specimen. The aromatic leaves containing essential oils are used by fishermen to remove the odour of redbait (aas) from their hands, hence the common name.
Campers rub the leaves onto their bedding to keep ants and mosquitoes away. The leaves are used in potpourri and act as an insect repellant.
Ecology EDIT
The conspicuous white flowers and the nectariferous disc indicate that pollination is most probably effected by insects.
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