Cape Myrtle
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Cape Myrtle
ative Photo: Amit Kumar
Common name: Cape Myrtle, African boxwood, Thakisa • Hindi: bandraru oleander, banwa, banwan, basuti, chapra, chhota mehndru • Sanskrit: vidanga
Botanical name: Myrsine africana    Family: Myrsinaceae (Myrsine family)

Cape Myrtle is a shrub that typically has dense, dark-green to red foliage and produces tiny bright purple berries. The shrub can achieve heights of over 2 m and may be dense if pruned or grown in strong sunlight. The fine-toothed leaves are at first deep red, but on maturity become glossy and dark green. The cream-coloured flowers appear in spring, with the male flowers boasting red anthers. Separate shrubs produce either male or female flowers, with the female plants producing purple berries. The hardy plant is long-lived. It is increasingly popular for topiaries and small hedges generally, as it can so readily be pruned and shaped. The shrub sends up occasional shoots from its root system that go on to form new plants. It propagates easily from seed. Within India, it is found in Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Assam and Meghalaya, at an altitude range of 300-2700 m.

Identification credit: Amit Kumar Photographed in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand & Natwas, Doda, J&K.

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