The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Prickly Wild Hibiscus Creeper

Afrikaans name:

Prickly Wild Hibiscus Creeper

Prickly Wild Hibiscus Creeper

Photo © Steven Herbert

Hibiscus surattensis

The Prickly Wild Hibiscus Creeper is a common plant along the east coast of KwaZulu-Natal, and inland in Mpumalanga and Limpopo. It is also found in tropical areas across Africa, south Asia and south-east Asia. It can be found in a variety of habitats including forest edges, grassland, coastal dunes, marshes and disturbed land.

It normally grows as a scrambling form of creeper. The length of the stems varies from 1 to 7 metres. It gets large yellow flowers with deep mauve centres. The flowers, which only last a day or so, measure about 10 cm across. The stems are covered in sharp prickles that are reddish brown in colour. The leaves are large and are broader than they are long.

Numerous bees, flies and other insects are attracted to the flowers. Some species of game eat the Prickly Wild Hibiscus Creeper.

Some indigenous tribes have used parts of this plant to treat venereal disease as well as stomach and heart ailments. In parts of Asia and Africa this plant is cultivated for use in salads, sauces, soups, curries and other cooked meals. The leaves can be eaten raw, and they have an acid flavour.

Prickly Wild Hibiscus Creeper

Above - Prickly Wild Hibiscus Creeper

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

A Field Guide to Wild Flowers in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 2005 - Page: 286


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