Greetings again to all our Village plant enthusiasts.
This week we introduce Selago galpinii, the Sesotho common name (this species has no English common names) is Tsitoanenyana.
It is a perennial herb that grows to between 150 and 300 mm in height. The leaves are small and semi-needle shaped, occurring in clusters. The inflorescence is slender with small rounded heads of approximately 10 mm in diameter. The flowers, although small are a blue – violet colour which contrasts pleasantly with the hues of the surrounding winter vegetation, making it especially visible during the cooler autumn/early winter period.
S. galpinii flowers between January & May but may be observed in bloom up until late June. This plant is named after Earnest Galpin (1858 – 1941), a South African naturalist renowned as a “prince of plant collectors”.
S. galpinii occurs in rocky grasslands at an altitude of 1500 – 2600 m A.S.L. It is a species with limited distribution as it is endemic (only occurring within/limited to) the Eastern Free State/Mountain Region. Don’t let it fool you – despite its meek appearance the plant is relatively hardy, surviving on shallow lithocutanic (rocky/coarse) soils.
No known medicinal uses have as yet been attributed to this small gem, but the flowers make for good sport for budding and keen photographers.