Impala Lily.. a lowveld beauty with a bite.

The Impala Lily (Adenium multiflorum)

If there is one reason to visit the Kruger National Park in winter, it is for the Impala Lily.. A most showy plant, resembling a miniature Baobab tree in a way, but the flowers in Winter are just too beautiful to describe….


(photo courtesy of Victor Lourens… but then he’s my Grandson so I just use it without his permission)

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This plant contains a watery latex which is highly toxic. Domestic animals have been known to die after consuming it, but amazingly there have been no noted deaths in wild animals that feed on the Impala Lily. The latex is extracted from the bark and trunk and is prepared as a poison for the tips of hunting arrows and also as a poison to stun fish. The latex is also made into a "magical potion" used by many different African cultures both in South Africa and Mozambique.

The poisons within the Impala Lily latex are known to contain over 30 types of chemicals that can affect the heart. This is not necessarily all negative, as, when given in the correct dosage and mixed in with the right medicinal ingredients, it could possibly be used in the treatment of cardiac arrest.

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When the plant is finished flowering it makes long seed pods and then, and only then, do the new leaves begin to show…

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They are such beautiful shows of colour in an otherwise drab winter coloured grass that one can’t help but spot them from far…

71 thoughts on “Impala Lily.. a lowveld beauty with a bite.

  1. Pingback: Appreciation | de Wets Wild

  2. I am in awe of this plant intelligence. As a professional floral designer I can only imagine some interesting floral arrangements with these truly stunning beauties. They will remain only in the imagination of course!

  3. Coincidentally, I was photographing a lily just yesterday with very similar colours. Not toxic as far as I know, but with a wonderful intoxicating scent.

  4. Given your wildlife Bulldog, not sure on the if there is only one reason to visit the National Park….. but yes you are right that is one stunning flower! Makes you just want to smell it – but a look and don’t touch is probably a better idea.

    • I handle ours at home all the time and no problem… but avoid the milky sap as it is well known any milky sap is poisonous… but they are such a beauty,,, mine at home never flower, don’t know why… probably crying to go home…

  5. Blessed that you share your world with me and others. I don’t ever remembering learning what you share growing up in history class! Although toxic – your shots are exceptional!

  6. Oh, MY! Their beauty is only enhanced by the absence of leaves! I can’t imagine how startlingly beautiful the sight of one of these trees would be in a winter landscape. As you might imagine, these lilies fascinate me. I am happy that you introduced me to them. Sometimes, I marvel at the sights and sounds that must almost be too much to absorb. What a wonderful land, Rob. You are fortunate to live there.

    • Thanks George… we are blessed with so much that half of it we tend to take for granted sometimes… but when one sees a bush like this, it just reminds one how lucky we are….

  7. It is funny how things that was never a interest for me became a pleasure to do at the end. I have learned so much from oupa and it was good time spend. Thanks for all the advice and pointers. I will improve as the time goes on. Yes the bug got me!

    • Never give up on the experimentation… you’ll master it in the end, I’m too old to master it but you’re young enough… keep going I’m proud of you…

    • How right you are… I must admit I knew of it’s toxicity as most plants that give off a milk, are. But never knew it was a cardiac poison… but beauty it is…

    • So correct… I have some brilliant photos of the Scarlet-Chested Sunbird on the Flame trees as you call them Coral trees as they are known here… I’m posting them tomorrow…

      • Looking forward to it! My eyes mean I can’t get good photos of the birds in the flame trees at the moment. I just hope the new glasses eventually help things. They haven’t yet.

  8. Amazing that something so toxic (yet helpful at times), can be hidden by something so beautiful. The flowers truly are lovely. The shots are gorgeous. 🙂

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