abrotanifolium (L.f.) Jacq.
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Hort. Schoenbr. 2 (1800) 6, t. 136.
An aromatic and much-branched shrublet, up to 1 m high. The branches are slender, woody and covered in glandular hairs and remains of old petioles.
Lamina 5-17 x 5-19 mm, divided into 3 or 5 segments, each subdivided into three or more linear lobes, channelled on the their upper surface along the midribs. Feathery grey-green, aromatic. Stipules small, lanceolate.
Unbranched, with 1-5 flowers.
5, hypanthium ~30 mm.
Petals spathulate or obovate, white to pink or mauve, veined in red or purple.
7 fertile, four long, one slightly shorter.
P. abrotanifolium is widely distributed and often prefers arid habitats. Pictured above is the Gannaga Pas West of Middelpos in the Northern Cape, where it grows on the most exposed rocky outcrops. This Pas overlooks Tanqua Karoo, one of the driest parts of South Africa with only ~100 mm precipitation a year.
And yet, if the 100 mm fall at the right time of year, Tanqua Karoo bursts into the most unbelievable landscape. If one wanted to reproduce this in a garden, the likelihood of success is likely very minimal, but nature has found its ways... To experience this oblivious abundance is one of the greatest joys of plant spotting.
incisum (Andr.) Willd.
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