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This Rare Flower Is to Die For

The African Impala Lily’s clear, sticky sap is poisonous and is used by local fishermen to coat the tips of their arrows when shooting fish. The Impala Lily grows at low altitudes in hot, dry, sandy, or rocky habitats or flats, in open deciduous woodland, from sea level to about 1 200 m. Naturally found in South Africa (northern KwaZulu-Natal, eastern Mpumalanga, and Limpopo), eastern Swaziland, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe extending into eastern and western tropical Africa to Malawi and Zambia. Without a doubt, the most attractive species, somewhat like a miniature baobab, being a deciduous thick-stemmed shrub up to 3 m tall. 

The large swollen stem, with its smooth grey bark and the branches, contain a watery sap. The leaves are 35-120 Í 15-80 mm, glossy green above, paler beneath, with the midrib and lateral veins distinct above, only the mid-rib prominent below. They are crowded at the tips of branches, are broadly oval, and appear shortly after flowering. Flowers large and showy, white, or pale pink with a pink to the dark red border, the margins of the petals crisped. The flowering time is from May to August. The cigar-shaped fruits split open to release numerous cylindrical, hairy seeds. The name multiflorum is derived from Latin and means many-flowered.

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