adhatodoides is a shrub or a small tree 1-3m in height. It is
commonly found on forest understorey, on forest margins and rocky
outcrops in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal and the former Transkei
area in the Eastern Cape Province. It is also found in the Gauteng
Province. This is an evergreen single or multi-stemmed shrub with
dense dark crown. The stems can be as thick as 260mm in diameter
with dark brown rough bark. The shiny, dark green leaves make this
plant interesting even when it is not in flower. Flowers are conspicuous,
an attractive white to mauve with purple markings. This shrub flowers
from February to August.
The flowers are pollinated by large black and yellow carpenter
bees. Mrs M.E.Barber, a well-known naturalist who lived in the Eastern
Cape over a hundred years ago, wrote an article in Journal of the
Linnean Society in 1871 describing how the bee alights on the lower
lip and forces open the corolla tube with its proboscis to gorge
on nectar. In doing so the bee's thorax gets dusted with pollen.
It then flies on to another flower where its thorax brushes against
the protruding stigma, depositing pollen to ensure fertilization,
before picking up a more pollen. The fruits are club-shaped capsules,
about 3 x 1 cm, dehiscing explosively with a loud crack (hence the
Growing Duvernoia adhatodoides
This shrub is an excellent decorative garden plant.
It can also be used as a background planting in a landscape.
This plant can be grown from seed or cuttings. Duvernoia adhatodoides
is sensitive to frost. However, with some protection it can grow
in areas where frost is not too severe. Duvernoia adhatodoides
is best grown in moist coastal gardens. It thrives in Cape Town
and Port Elizabeth. It likes well composted soil as it occurs naturally
in forests. Mulch to keep soil water in the soil and to regulate
soil temperature. Growth can be stimulated by various fertilizers
such as Supa Natural (Fish emulsion fertilizer),Seagro and Kelpack.
Seagro and Supa Natural can be used as foliar feed.
adhatodoides is pretty in flower at the Arboretum (the tree
section) in Kirstenbosch Garden. Numerous seedlings at the base
of the plants are an indication of how easily it germinates. Seedlings
are resistant to fungal diseases but a fungicide can be applied
South Africa only has two Duvernoia species. The other species,
D. aconitiflora, which also flowers during autumn, is a small
shrub to 3m from the north eastern part of South Africa. It is well
suited to smaller gardens.