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Agathosma serpyllacea

   (Family: Rutaceae)
   
 EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 0.3 - 0.8m
Rarity Status:
Common
   
Preferred rainfall: Winter
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
  Sand (coarse texture, drains easily)
pH: neutral
 
Flowering time EDIT
        x x x x x x x x
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
 
White
 
Purple
 
Pink
 
  Polinator
  Bees
  Flower info
  The tips of the branchlets bear clusters of pink, purple or white flowers with petals 3.5–5.5 mm long, and with lance-shaped or peg-like staminodes (sterile stamens).
 
 
Leaf shape EDIT
 
  Leaf scent
  Aromatic fragrance when crushed.
 
Leaf size 5 - 10mm
  Leaf info EDIT
  Evergreen
  The narrow, needle-like to lance-shaped leaves are swollen behind the tip and slightly twisted. They are 5–10 mm long, concave above and hairless or variously hairy.
 
 
 
  Seed info EDIT
  The ovary and fruits are 3-segmented.
 
 
Description EDIT
A rounded, single-stemmed shrub between 30–80 cm high with clusters of pink, purple or white flowers.
Growing EDIT
Sow the seed during autumn. Use a medium which is light and drains well. A mixture of equal parts sand and compost, or just plain coarse river sand, will do. Cover seed with a thin layer of bark or sand and than water. Keep the seed tray in a covered area that provides ample good light and ventilation. Ensure that the medium never gets overwatered nor is allowed to dry out.

Germination takes between 4–9 weeks.

Prick out the seedling by the time the first four true leaves appear. Ensure that the fine roots are handled with care. Place the potted plants in a shady area for 3–4 weeks to harden them off before placing them in the sun. This period is also a good time to pinch out the growing tips of the seedlings as it promotes more bushy growth habit. The young seedlings can now also be fed with some balanced nutrient products. After 8 to 9 months plants will be ready for transplanting into the garden.

This buchu can also be propagated by taking heel, tip or semi-hardwood cuttings. Use fresh material from the current year's growth. Make cuttings of between 25–55 mm, remove about a third of the foliage and cut them below the node. Dip cuttings in a rooting hormone and place them in trays with a medium consisting of equal parts of bark and polystyrene.

If available, place cuttings in a mistunit with heated benches. If you have no special equipment, pPlace cuttings in a protective environment such as under waterproof-sheeting. Keep cuttings damp at all times. This could be done by using a fine sprayer or seal the cuttings of in a plastic bag.

It takes 9–11 weeks for roots to develop. The rooted cuttings must be hardened-off (prepared for their final outdoor site) for 2–3 weeks. Pot the rooted cuttings into a well-drained mix and then move them to a shady area for 2–4 weeks to harden off. After this they can be moved into full sun.

Agathosma serpyllacea performs best in full sun and well-drained soil. The ideal time for planting is between autumn and winter during the rainy season. This allows plants the opportunity to establish themselves in the garden before they have to cope with the harsh heat or drought during summer.

Before planting commences, it is advisable to dig over the soil, add compost and a slow-release fertilizer. This will also aid with aeration of the soil.
Distribution EDIT
Found from Clanwilliam to Humansdorp where it grows on limestone slopes and hills or in sandy areas close to the sea and further inland.
History EDIT
The genus name Agathosma is derived from the Greek word agathos which means good. Osme refers to the distinctive fragrance which is so characteristicof the genus. There are oil glands present on the leaves and fruits that normally release an aromatic fragrance when crushed.
Uses EDIT
his buchu is becoming increasingly popular as a landscaping subject. It also thrives as a potplant.
Ecology EDIT
As with most buchus, bees can be observed visiting during flowering. It is possible that they do assist with pollination.
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