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Dissotis princeps

   (Family: Melastomataceae)
Afrikaans: kalwerbossie English: purple dissotis, royal dissotis, wild tibouchina, purple wild tibouchina Xhosa: sichobochobo, umpongamponga  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 1.5 - 3m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (light)
  Frost Tolerant (light)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Preferred rainfall: Summer
Preferred position:
Tolerated soil:  
  Sand (coarse texture, drains easily),
Clay (fine texture, holds a lot of water),
Loam (gritty, moist, and retains water easily),
Marshy (remains wet all year around)
Biome: Forest
Flowering time EDIT
x x x x x             x
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower shape
Flower type
  Bees, birds
  Flower info
  Large, ± 60 mm diameter, purple or occasionally white flowers are produced in showy terminal panicles. The calyx is an ± 10 mm long tube with 5 lobes, dark reddish pink and covered in clusters of bristly hairs and knobby bumps, and it persists after the petals have dropped off. The spectacular inflorescence is multi-toned-the dark reddish pink calyx encloses the dark purple bud that opens to the paler purple, 5-petalled flowers with their purple and yellow stamens and purplish pink style.
Leaf shape EDIT
Leaf margin
Leaf type
Leaf arrangement
Leaf texture Hairy
  Leaf info EDIT
  The leaves are large, 30-145 x 10-55 mm, egg-shaped to lance-shaped, and velvety, dark green above and paler to whitish underneath with 5 conspicuous veins from the base
Fruit type EDIT
Sow seeds in Spring
  Seed info EDIT
  The fruit is a capsule that develops inside the persistent calyx, releasing masses of very small seeds.
Description EDIT
Dissotis princeps is a herbaceous shrub growing between 1.5 and 3 m tall. It produces large purple or occasionally white flowers from mid to late summer.
Growing EDIT
It is easy to grow, and is ideal for the water or vlei (marsh) garden, or for that difficult, permanently damp spot.

It can be allowed to dry out completely and go dormant during winter and cut back almost to ground level and it will resprout strongly in the spring. It survives the wet Cape winters without difficulty and in tropical climates can be left unpruned and growing through the winter, but regular, heavy pruning keeps it neater and more bushy.

Propagate by seed sown in spring or early summer.
Can be propagated easily from cuttings. Cut the plants back during winter and take stem cuttings from the resprouting spring growth in spring to early summer (Sept-Nov). Treat them with rooting hormone and place under mist and they root easily in approx. two weeks.
Distribution EDIT
Occurs in marshy places, along streambanks and at the fringe of forests in KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland, Limpopo, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.
History EDIT
The genus name Dissotis is derived from the Greek dissos meaning two-fold, referring to the two different types of stamens. The species name princeps means most distinguished in Latin, perhaps the botanist who named it considered it to be the most distinguished species in its genus, on account of its long flowering period and showy inflorescence; princeps also means princely, which is possibly why it earned the common name of royal dissotis.
Certain tribes are said to have eaten the roots as an aphrodisiac. In KwaZulu-Natal it was eaten as a vegetable in times of starvation. This species is used in traditional medicine.
Ecology EDIT
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