Durbanville Nature Reserve – Geneesbossie – 1

Also known in Afrikaans as Agtdaegeneesbossie, Broodbos, Geneesbossie, Pleisterbos, Geelpleisterbos, Vet-en-broodbos.


Hermannia multiflora, is a sturdy, much-branched shrublet, up to 500 mm high. Leaves in tufts and coarsely toothed, both surfaces covered with star-like hairs. Flowers yellow, becoming red-brown with age, sweetly scented. Very palatable and drought resistant. Hermannia is a genus of small shrubs, ranging from upright to sprawling prostrate shrublets. They are characterized by the presence of minute glandular or star-like hairs on the leaves and stems. The stems often have a dark grey bark. Leaves are alternate and entire, lobed or incised. Flowers consist of 5 petals which are slightly or very strongly spirally twisted into an upended rose. Most Hermannia species possess a thick woody stem and root, forming an underground stem, which enables the plants to survive dry periods and fires. In the veld, hermannias appear woody, some species being very palatable to stock and browsed down to the main branches.


The genus consists of 154 species, which have a distribution mainly across the Flora of Southern Africa area. There are 141 South African species alone, of which 81 are endemic to South Africa (occurring in South Africa only). The genus is also found in Madagascar, and extends through tropical East Africa (14 species, some shared with southern Africa) to North East Africa (four species, possibly more) and Arabia (one species, also found in Egypt and Sudan). A single species ( Hermannia tigrensis) is found in Western Africa as well as southern Africa and North East Africa. There are three species in Northern Mexico and adjacent parts of the United States, a single species in southern Mexico, and a single species in Australia. The greatest diversity is within the Western Cape, Northern Cape, Free State, Lesotho and Namibia widespread in fynbos, karoo and grassland.


This plant is used medicinally to heal wounds, therefore the name, Geneesbos. Many members of the genus are used medicinally, for anything ranging from respiratory diseases, coughs and internal aches, as stimulants or purgatives, to soothing wounds and cuts. The common name pleisterbos ( Hermannia cuneifolia ) refers to the use of the leaves as plasters. In some plants the leaves are infused in tea, and used to clean the blood. A root infusion was used by the early European colonial settlers for epilepsy. A lotion of the leaf was used for eczema and shingles. Certain species have magical significance and are used to drive out spirits and to wash the divining bones. H. depressa is used as a protective charm by the Zulus. H. hysopifolia is used in making an aromatic tea. Only one species has been found to be toxic to stock ( H. tomentosa ), but it is doubtful whether animals will browse this plant in the veld.

Geneesbossie, Hermannia multiflora, Durbanville Nature Reserve, Durbanville, South Africa
  • Location: Durbanville Nature Reserve, Durbanville, South Africa
  • Date Taken: 2020-10-25
  • Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Lens: Canon Zoom Lens EF-S 18-200 mm 3-5.6 IS
  • Exposure Program: Manual
  • Image Quality: RAW
  • F-Stop: f/7.1
  • Exposure Time: 1/200 sec
  • ISO Speed: ISO-100
  • Focal Length: 200 mm
  • Metering Mode: Spot Metering
  • Handheld
  • Post Processing: Adobe Photoshop CS6
  • Photographer: Coreen Kuhn
  • Information: PlantZAfrica

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