Gomphostigma virgatum

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Water Needs

moderate; high

Gomphostigma virgatum
Shrub small; Water plant
River Stars; Besembossie

60 cm - 1.5 m

Size

Light Conditions

sun; semi-shade

Frost

hardy

Flowers

white; October – March; spring; summer; autumn

Garden Situation

damp sun; water feature; wildlife insects birds

Habitat

water

Region

thicket; Highveld; subtropical East Coast; Karoo; bushveld savanna; Western Cape

Rain Season

summer; winter

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Description

This rather sparse small to medium sized shrub (60 cm – 1.5 m ) occurs throughout the country, mostly on rocky streambeds from the coast inland to an altitude of 1980 m. Gorgeous silver-grey foliage tempts you to run your fingers through it; give in to the temptation for the tiny leaves are soft and velvety, some almost hairless, others covered in soft silvery hairs. Shrubs form an upright, V-shape when mature with leaves growing along the length of the arching stems. Tiny white 4-petalled star-like flowers cluster at the branch tips from October/November through to March; petals surround tiny purple anthers. Flowers are softly scented to attract nocturnal moths. Plants flower best in full sun and mix well with other wetland or pond plants: try it with the Elegia or Juncus families, or the orange/yellow flowering Kniphofia species from your region. Position plants in the spray of a water feature, around dripping taps where soil is frequently, if not continuously, damp. Cut back at the end of winter to encourage bushy growth and flowering in the following season. Birds love the flexible branches to hold small nests.

Gomphostigma virgatum
Gomphostigma virgatum