Acmadenia mundiana Ecklon and Zeyher

Family: Rutaceae
Common names: Buchu (E), Boegoe (A)

Acmadenia mundiana

This attractive shrub with grey-green foliage carries bright pink star-shaped flowers from June to September. Acmadenia mundiana belongs to the Citrus family (Rutaceae). There are 33 species in the genus Acmadenia and they are mainly found in the southern and south western Cape.

In this family, Rutaceae, the leaves and fruit are dotted with aromatic oil glands that produce a fragrant scent unique to each species. Acmadenia belongs to a group of genera in the Rutaceae locally referred to as buchus. The well known medicinal buchu is Agathosma betulina, a related species. Buchus are quite easily identified by the strong aromatic scent released when the leaves are crushed. They are mostly small-leafed shrubs with pink or white star- shaped flowers.

Acmadenia mundiana

Acmadenia mundiana is a densely branched, single-stemmed shrub. It grows to a height of 1.2m and spread of 0,7m. The shaggy-hairy leaves are 11mm. long and 4mm. wide with a prominent midrib. This evergreen shrub bears bright pink flowers (15mm wide) at the tips of stems during winter and spring. The flowers have five petals with a dark pink nectar guide on each petal leading into the flower with a closed throat. The flowering shrubs attract bees, their pollinators and butterflies to the garden.

Acmadenia mundiana is restricted to limestone hills and outcrops between Cape Agulhas, Bredasdorp and De Hoop Nature Reserve.

Growing Acmadenia mundiana

Acmadenia mundiana easily adapts to growing in the garden where it requires full sun and well-drained slightly acid soil. Plants respond well to a slow fertilizer such as 3:1:5 and an annual mulching with compost or a thick layer of mulch. This helps to reduce weeds and keeps the soil temperature low. Acmadenia mundiana can be used as container plant, in mix borders or in a rockery.

Buchus can be propagated from seed or cuttings. Sow fresh buchu seed in autumn in a seedtray containing a well-drained medium of equal portions of sand, loam and compost. Use some of the medium to cover the seed and water. Place in a covered area with good light and air circulation. Keep medium damp. Germination occurs in 1 to 2 months.

Prick young seedlings out into bags containing a fynbos medium when 4 true leaves have developed. Pinch out the growing tips of the seedlings to encourage bushy growth. Flowers are produced after two years.

Cuttings have the advantage of producing a larger flowering plant sooner than than seedlings. Tip cuttings, 50-70 mm, are taken from the current year's growth (December to February). Prepare cuttings by making a clean cut below the node and remove the third of the foliage. Dip the base of the cutting in a rooting hormone. Place the cuttings in a medium of 50% bark and 50 % polystyrene. Firm medium around cutting. Ideally these cuttings should now be placed in an well-aerated propagation unit with a bottom heat of 24-degree Celsius. Rooting occurs in 9 to 11 weeks. Carefully pot the rooted cuttings using a well-drained, humus riched fynbos potting medium (2 parts leafmould, 1 part coarse sand). Plants will be ready for planting in 7 to 8 months. Feed regularly with a well-balanced nutrient. Yellow leaves can be treated with an application of iron chelate.

Other interesting species in the genus Acmadenia are : A. heterophylla, a low spreading shrub with bright pink flowers in autumn. An ideal plant to be used in coastal gardens, A.obtusata, commonly know as the "Duineboegoe", grows to a height of 70 mm. and displays clusters of pink star-shaped flowers from April to November. These and other buchus including those in the genera Agathosma, Adenandra and Coleonema prove to be excellent garden plants.

Norma Jodamus
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
September 2002

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