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…