Friday, November 06, 2009

Anisodontea julii

Anisodontea julii | Mountain Mallow, African Mallow, Bergroos

There are over 20 species of Anisodontea found in South Africa and adjoining countries. Anisodontea julii is found naturally on the slopes of the Drakensberg mountains between 1200 and 2300m. It occurs in evergreen scrub, often growing among boulders and rocks, where it finds protection from fire and the frosts. Although Anisodontea julii comes from a summer rainfall region, it grows equally well in winter rainfall regions. Valued for its quick growth, this is a tall, graceful shrub has large pink flowers throughout the summer. The leaves have 3-7 lobes and are about 75 mm in length, on long stalks. One caveat: If the plant is happy, roots may produce suckers, so beware when planting out.

Reference: In cultivaton Anisodontea grows bigger and better that it does in the wild, as though it is rewarding the gardener for releasing it from the bondage of fire and competition with taller plants. It grows to its full height within a single season, thickening out thereafter. Flowering takes place in the first summer, and seed shed from the parent plant produces a thriving colony in the second year. So replacements are always ready when the original plant dies after 5 years or so.

   Down to Earth: Gardening with Indigenous Shrubs
   David Johnson, Sally Johnson, Geoff Nichols Struik, 2002