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Plumbago auriculata

   (Family: Plumbaginaceae)
   
Afrikaans: Blousyselbos English: Plumbago, Cape Leadwort Xhosa: umabophe Zulu: umasheleshele  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 3 - 6m
Spread: 3m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (light)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Common
   
Preferred rainfall: Summer
Preferred position:
Full Sun
 
Flowering time EDIT
x x x x x           x x
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
 
Blue
 
White
Flower shape
Flower type
 
  Flower info
  It has light blue to blue flowers and also variations with white (P. auriculata var. alba) or deep blue (P. auriculata 'Royal cape') flowers. Short terminal racemes of salver-shaped flowers with 5 spreading lobes. There are sticky, gland tipped hairs on the flower calyx.
 
 
Leaf shape EDIT
Leaf margin
Leaf type
Leaf arrangement
Leaf texture Smooth
Bark / Stem type
 
 
Leaf size 050mm
  Leaf info EDIT
  Evergreen
  The leaves are a glossy green and grow to 5 cm long. Leaves are spoon-shaped.
 
 
Fruit type EDIT
 
  Seed info EDIT
  The seed capsule retains the stickiness of the flower calyx which presumably helps disperse the seed by attaching to animals. The top of the capsule splits opens and drops the seed out.
 
 
Description EDIT
An evergreen shrub with blue or white flowers.
It can be used as a shrub, climber, pot plant, or groundcover.
Growing EDIT
Propagation is performed by rooting cuttings or seed germination.
Easily grown from seed, but takes 2 years to flower (sow seed at 55° to 64°F in spring). Root semi-ripe cuttings in midsummer with bottom heat.

You can plant this in a site that has either full sun or partial shade. For the best floral display, choose one with full sunlight.
Distribution EDIT
The distribution ranges from the southern Cape, Eastern Cape and into KwaZulu-Natal. It appears in Gauteng and the adjacent areas of the Free State and North West Province. There is also an isolated distribution in Mpumalanga.
History EDIT
The name Plumbago is derived from plumbum meaning lead - referring to it being a supposed cure for lead poisoning.

The specific epithet auriculata means "with ears", referring to the shape of the leaves.
Uses EDIT
Plumbago is used traditionally to treat warts, broken bones and wounds. It is taken as a snuff for headaches and as an emetic to dispel bad dreams.

A stick of the plant is placed in the thatch of huts to ward off lightning.
Ecology EDIT
Plumbago is visited by butterflies and is one of the larval foods plant for the common blue butterfly (Cyclyrius pirithous) which is apparently fairly common in gardens as a result of the popularity of plumbago as a garden plant.
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