Fernkloof Nature Reserve
Scientific name - Aulax umbellata
Common name - Broad-leaf Featherbush,
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Habitat sandstone slopes and flats
Flowering time November to April
Description Sparsely branched shrub about 2m high. Unisexual flowers borne on separate male and female plants. Only three species all occurring in southern and SW Cape. Aulax umbellata has broader spatulate leaves than other two species. Male inflorescences are bright yellow 30-35mm long spikelike racemes gathered in close clusters at end of shoots. Female inflorescences - globose,
conelike heads grouped at the ends of branches and partially hidden by leaves - are the outstanding character of the genus. Each inflorescence has a shallow cuplike receptacle comprising whorls of highly-modified bractlike flattened branchlets.
These form a persistent involucre which has a short central axis on which female flowers are arranged raceme-like in a spiral. The inflorescence is unique in its structure.
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