Dicerothamnus rhinocerotis

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Dicerothamnus rhinocerotis

Family: Asteraceae

Common names:

  • rhinoceros bush
  • rhenoster bush
  • renosterbos
  • rhenosterbos

Description:
Renosterbos is a single-stemmed, usually smallish shrub up to about 2 m high. In between the leaves a layer of fine white hairs is visible, giving a woolly appearance (see photo), giving the plant a greyish appearance overall. This plant was previously called Elytropappus rhinocerotis.

Distribution:
The natural range of renosterbos is wider than one would expect, as it occurs outside of renosterveld vegetation. Although it is widespread in the Cape Floristic Region, renosterbos also occurs throughout Namaqualand and as far north as the Richtersveld. It is also found as far east as the Great Escarpment around Molteno in the Eastern Cape, and in the southern part of the Eastern Cape to East London. Populations in the interior are usually restricted to high-altitude areas.

Cultural Value:
Infusions of the young branches in alcohol are a traditional Cape remedy, thought to be beneficial in the treatment of stomach complaints including indigestion, dyspepsia, stomach cancer and a lack of appetite. The powdered twigs were used to treat children with diarrhoea. The preparations are also said to induce sweating, and the plant has been used in the treatment of influenza and fevers

Growing Dicerothamnus rhinocerotis:
Renosterbos does well in heavy clay soils, making it ideal for this difficult soil type. The foliage might also create interest in cut flower displays.