phylica

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Phylica pubescens

Phylica pubescens is a shrub from South Africa’s west coast, near Cape Town. It belongs to the family Rhamnaceae. It is notable for its soft feathery foliage, and when it comes into flower it develops incredibly feathery white bracts which catch the light admirably and set the plant aglow. The tiny white flowers can be seen in the close-up photo.

-Brian

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Phylica pubescens comes from South Africa, and it grows in fynbos vegetaion to the east of Cape Town. People often think it might be a member of the Protea Family, commonly found in fynbos areas, but in fact it belongs to an entirely different family, the Rhamnaceae. When in flower, the stems are topped by feathery clusters of bracts surrounding the tiny flowers, and this gives rise to the common name of “featherhead”. It is spectacular in early morning and just before sunset, when the horizontal rays of the sun set the branch-tips aglow.

-Brian