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Tortoise berry

Muraltia spinosa

Nylandtia spinosa

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A striking flowering shrub that has a mass of purple, pink and white pea-like flowers throughout winter (Apr - Oct). It is a rounded shrub with spines on the tips of the branches and has small narrow deciduous leaves. The fruits are small and rounded red fleshy fruits that are edible when ripe. The fruits attract tortoises and other animals. It has a moderate growth rate and quite hardy (water wise and frost resistant).

Planning

Difficulty
Moderate
Flowering time
Autumn, Winter, Spring
Fruiting time
Summer

Harvesting

Grows best from seeds. Fruits can be eaten when red in colour.

Propagation

Seed
Sow in spring; spacing 1 m apart at a depth 1.5 times deeper than the size of the seed. Germination takes 2-3 weeks.

Special features

Attracts birds
Birds are attracted to the fruit.

Geography

Origin
South Africa, from Namaqualand, through the Western Cape and along the Eastern Cape coast.
Natural climate
Coastal sandy plains, savannah

Environment

Light
Full Sun
Soil moisture
Dry
Soil type
Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Hardy

Uses

Edible
The fruits are high in vitamin C and are thirst quenching.
Medicinal
Has a few traditional medicinal uses: cure for sleeplessness, abdominal pain, tuberculosis, bitter digestive, colds, flu's, bronchitis, malaria.
Ornamental
It makes a decorative garden shrub.

Personality

Family
Polygalaceae
Flower colour
, Purples, White, Pink
Scent
None

Problems

Generally problem free.

Companion plants

Other sand loving plants.

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