A garden oasis and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River

Plant of the Week: Tetradenia riparia (Iboza)

Charles Day is Wave Hill’s Ruth Rea Howell Horticultural Interpreter.

A pleasant, spicy scent hangs in the air of the Palm House this time of year and its origin is not immediately obvious.the-setting

Only when accidentally brushed does the culprit reveal itself.the-plant

It is iboza (Tetradenia riparia), a shrub native to much of eastern Africa, from KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa to Ethiopia.

In winter, it is covered in spikes of tiny white flowers and, when a mass of them are spotted from a distance, they can look like a fine mist—in fact, one of its common names is misty plume-bush.close-up

Iboza is the Zulu name for this plant and, apparently, it refers to its aromatic properties.

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