This floriferous buchu is ideal for the small and large garden alike. It is also grows well in pots.
Agathosma cerefolium is a rounded, single-stemmed, aniseed-scented shrublet up to 1,4 m high. The needle-like to rounded leaves are 3–5 mm long. They vary from slightly concave to convex above. The margins are hairy.
The tips of the branchlets bear clusters of pink, mauve or white flowers with 3–5 mm long petals and lance-shaped staminodes (sterile stamens). The ovary and fruits are 3-segmented. The flowering period is from August to January.
Agathosma cerefolium is not threatened and has a status of Least Concern (LC) (Raimondo et al. 2009).
Distribution and habitat
Anysboegoe is found from Hermanus to Humansdorp where it grows on limestone flats and hills or coastal calcareous sands.
Derivation of name and historical aspects
The genus name Agathosma is derived from the Greek word agathos which means good, and osme refers to the distinctive fragrance which is so characteristicof the genus. The oil glands on the leaves and fruit normally release an aromatic fragrance when crushed.
The specific epithet, cerefolium, refers to the waxy leaves of the species.
There are at present 150 species of Agathosma . The majority of them is confined to the Western Cape.
Bees frequent this species during flowering and it is therefore quite possible that they provide assistance with pollination.
Uses and cultural aspects
No cultural or medicinal uses have been recorded. Anysboegoe is well suited to waterwise gardening and for fynbos gardens.
Growing Agathosma cerefolium
Autumn is the best time to sow the seed. Use a light, well-draining medium. For this plant, a mixture of equal parts sand and compost, or just plain coarse river sand, will do. Cover the seed with a thin layer of sand or bark, and then water. Keep the seed tray in a covered area that provides enough ventilation and good light. The medium must never be overwatered or be allowed to dry out. Germination takes between 4 and 9 weeks.
The seedlings can be pricked out when the first four true leaves appear. Move the potted plants to a shady area for 3–4 weeks to harden them off before placing them in the sun. This period is also the ideal time to pinch out the growing tips of the seedlings, to promote a more bushy growth habit. The young seedlings can now also be fed with some balanced nutrient products.
These plants will be ready for transplanting into the garden after 8 to 9 months.
This buchu can also be propagated from cuttings. Take heel-, tip- or semi-hardwood cuttings from fresh material of the current year's growth. Take cuttings of between 25 and 55 mm length, remove about a third of the foliage and cut them below the node. The cuttings are then dipped in a rooting hormone and placed in trays with a medium consisting of equal parts of bark and polystyrene.
If available, place the cuttings in a mist unit with heated benches. If not available, place cuttings in a protective environment such as under waterproof-sheeting. Ensure the cuttings are kept damp at all times. This could be done by using a fine sprayer or seal the cuttings of in a plastic bag. It normally takes 9–11 weeks for roots to develop. The rooted cuttings must ideally be hardened off for 2–3 weeks before potting up.
Pot the rooted cuttings into a well-draining mix and place them in a shady area to harden off. After 2–4 weeks they can be moved into full sun.
Agathosma cerefolium prefers full sun and a well drained soil. The ideal time for planting is between autumn and winter during the rainy season. This affords plants the opportunity to establish themselves properly in the garden before they have to cope with the harsh weather conditions of summer.
Before planting commences, dig over the soil and, if required, add compost and a slow-release fertilizer.
Some companion plants this buchu could be planted with, include: Coleonema album, Acmadenia mundiana, Agathosma collina, Delosperma litorale, Jordaaniella dubia, Leucospermum patersonii, Protea susannae, Pelargonium betulinum, Lobelia valida and Chrysocoma coma-aurea.
Space plants 20–30 cm apart when planting. This should provide enough space to encourage growth. Buchus thrive when densely planted as this helps to retain soil moisture. Water the plants well after planting.
Regular mulching will also assist in keeping the soil and roots cool during summer.
References and further reading
- Goldblatt, P. & Manning, J. 2000. Cape Plants. A conspectus of the Cape flora of South Africa. Strelitzia 9. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria & Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri.
- Gould, M. 1992. The buchus: cultivation and propagation. National Botanical Institute, Cape Town.
- Manning, J. 2007. Field guide to Fynbos . Struik, Cape Town.
- Mustart, P., Cowling, R. & Albertyn, J. 1997. Southern Overberg . South African Wild Flower Guide 8. Botanical Society of South Africa, Cape Town.
- Powrie, F. 1998. Grow South African plants . A gardener's companion to indigenous plants. National Botanical Institute, Cape Town.
- Raimondo, D. et al. 2009. Red list of South African plants. Strelitzia 25. SANBI (South African National Biodiversity Institute), Pretoria.
- Stearn, W. 2002. Stearn's dictionary of plant names for gardeners. Timber Press. Portland, Oregon .