Botanical name

Cliffortia ruscifolia

Family

Rosaceae

Common Name

Steekbos, Rooidoring, Climbers' Friend
Cliffortia ruscifolia
Cliffortia ruscifolia
Cliffortia ruscifolia
Cliffortia ruscifolia
Cliffortia ruscifolia
Cliffortia ruscifolia

Description

Evergreen densely leafy shrub up to 1.5m. Leaves simple, acuminate (spine-tipped) pungent, oblong-lanceolate, channelled, sparsely hairy, 10-12mm long; leaves supporting the reproductive parts of the plant are shorter, tridentate and densely hairy; flowers small, male: pedicel (flower stalk)1-2mm long, stamens c.12; female: receptacle 3-4mm long, ovoid, brownish, feathery red styles.

The leaves with their spine-tips are capable of making an irritating puncture (Afrik: steek) in the flesh hence the common name Steekbos. The common name Climber's Friend is used ironically, meaning 'do not grab hold' of this spiny plant when climbing! Leaves sometimes used for brewing tea.

After: George Cliffort, died 1760, a wealthy Anglo-Dutch financier who directed the Dutch East India Company and owned a famous garden and Zoo in Amsterdam.

Habitat

Sandy and rocky sandstone slopes, often disturbed sites

Flower Date

August to October