Polygala Myrtifolia

November 5, 2013

One of the three endemic plants we have chosen for the Planting Event at the City Hall on the 23. Nov 2013. It is also known as the September Bush (Eng.); Augustusbossie, Blouertjie, Langelede (Afr.) Bush of P.myrtifolia Derivation of the name and historical aspects Polygala is an old Greek name from the words polys meaning much and gala meaning milk, the name given to this genus for some of its members which have the reputation for promoting the secretion of milk. The species name myrtifolia means myrtle-like leaves. An interesting use for this polygala was recorded by Pappe , a German doctor and botanist who emigrated to the Cape in 1832. Pappe says that the Cape Malays scraped off the fresh grey bark, which they mixed with water and stirred until it frothed and then used this for washing their dead before burial. This custom dated back long before Pappe recorded it in 1860, but it is now long in disuse. Because of this use, the plant was known in the Cape

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as langelier or langelede, probably a corruption of the Afrikaans lange lede meaning long joints. In KwaZulu-Natal Polygala myrtifolia is one of the many plants known for its antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Tests run by the University of Natal at Pietermaritzburg have found that aqueous extracts of P. myrtifolia showed activity against Candida albicans (which causes oral candidiasis). References

  • 2001. Annual report. School of Botany and Zoology, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg at http://www.botany.unp.ac.za
  • Coates Palgrave, M. 2002. Keith Coates Palgrave Trees of southern Africa, edn 3. Struik, Cape Town.
  • Goldblatt, P. & Manning, J. 2002. Cape plants. A conspectus of the Cape flora of South Africa. Strelitzia 9.
  • National Botanical Institute, Pretoria & Missouri Botanical Garden.
  • Palmer, E. & Pitman, J. 1972. Trees of southern Africa. Balkema,Cape Town.
  • Smith, C.A. 1966. Common names of South African plants. Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa No. 35.

Liesl van der Walt Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden September 2003

Information Ref: http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantnop/polygalamyrt.htm Featured Image Ref: http://gardenmania.com/polygala-myrtifolia-9-l-bola-35-40.html  


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