Iboza Riparia
Very bushy and dense aromatic shrub up to 3 m in height. It is slightly succulent and has an irregular branch pattern. The stems are brown and smooth, except for the younger portions which are covered with glandular hairs and have a ruby tinge. The glandular hairs also cover both surfaces of the leaves and make them slightly sticky to the touch. The leaves are a bright green and are slightly heart shaped with the margin irregularly and bluntly toothed. The flowers range from white to lilac including some with pink flowers. The type of display which you will get depends on whether you have a male or female plant! Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants in spikes which differ in size and shape. The male flower spikes in profusion create more of the “mist” effect than the female flowers which tend to be more compact. The flowers usually appear when the plants are bare and are carried in the top section of the branches. The name ibosa was derived from the Zulu word referring to the aromatic leaves – they use this plant medicinally. The Zulu people have many uses for the plant including the relief of chest complaints, stomach ache and malaria. Inhaling the scent of the crushed leaves apparently also relieves headaches. The plant is frost tender and best suited to pot culture in colder regions. This is a rewarding garden plant which is fast growing – up to 80cm per year and which will flower in its first year. It grows easily in light, well drained and well composted soil. It prefers water in summer but not as much in winter, thus making it is a good water wise plant for summer rainfall areas. It should be pruned back hard after flowering to keep it neat and promote flowering. Plant in full sun, except in very hot areas where midday shade or light shade will be beneficial.