Saturday, 14 March 2015

Mexican poppy

Mexican poppy, Argemone ochroleuca. Originally from Mexico, it is now a widespread weed in southern Africa.

Sunday, 8 March 2015


Cosmopolitan weeds. Datura ferox:

And Datura stramonium:

In both species, all parts of the plant are toxic, especially the seeds. Because the toxin can lead to delirium and hallucinations, the plants are sometimes used as recreational drugs. Not a good idea at all, and death as a result of intentional or accidental Datura poisoning is not unheard of. 

Pompom weed

Pretty, but very invasive in some areas of South Africa: pompom weed (Campuloclinium macrocephalum). Originally from South America, it has spread into many South African habitats, where it often displaces areas of grassland.

People in the know tell me that pulling these out can stimulate the remaining bits of root to even further growth, thus worsening the problem. Currently controlled by the laborious method of spraying herbicide on individual plants while trying not to harm the plants surrounding it, and by removing and burning the flowers. 

Sunday, 1 March 2015


A species of Cestrum. Originally from the Americas, they are somewhat popular garden plants in South Africa. In some areas they have become invasive. They are also poisonous to some livestock.

Grass aloe

Aloe veracunda. It is one of a group of slender-leaved aloes known as grass aloes. The aloes have traditionally been classified under the family Liliaceae, and for the purpose of this blog, I'll keep them there. I have seen them classified under several different families though - taxonomy seems to be in a state of flux at the moment.