Charles Day is Wave Hill’s Ruth Rea Howell Senior Horticultural Interpreter.
This aromatic plant is one of the gardeners’ favorites and is worthy of being featured again. It made its first appearance on the blog in January 2017.
A pleasant spicy scent hangs in the air of the Palm House this time of year and its origin is not immediately obvious. Only when accidentally brushed does the culprit reveal itself. 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.
Iboza is the Zulu name for this plant and, apparently, it refers to its aromatic properties.