The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa


Afrikaans name: Katstert


Photo © Steven Herbert

Hebenstretia comosa

The Katstert (Cat's Tail in English?) grows to a height of around 60 cm although some plants may grow to 1 metre. It is a perennial plant.

The Katstert is often found growing amongst grasses which, to me, explains their long, skinny upright form. Besides being found in grassland they also grow rocky areas and bushveld. The leaves are long and slender with a serrated edge. It flowers from late Autumn through to early Spring. The flowers are white with an orange spot at the base of the lower part and are clustered together at the end of the inflorescence.

These plants can be found in most provinces in South Africa, but it is not endemic to our country. Beyond our borders they occur in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi.

The Katstert is sometimes grown as a garden plant. It is a good choice for a garden as it can be grown in a variety of conditions. They like sun, are hardy and do not need too much water.

References and further reading

A Field Guide to Wild Flowers in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 2005 - Page: 194

Illustrated Guide to the Wildflowers of Northern South Africa - Author: Gerrit Germishuizen & Brenda Clarke - Published: 2003 - Page: 54


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