BEE STING

This is not going to be about the painful bite of a real bee. The shrub Azima tetrancantha is commonly known as Bee Sting or Fire Bush. A close look at it will reveal why:

The spiky plant is found not only in the Eastern Cape, but in the Western Cape, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal as well as in Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Asia. It generally occurs on hillsides or in shrub savanna and is fairly common in the Addo Elephant National Park. I came across it on a recent walk along the Dassiekrans path that leads off Mountain Drive on the Rietberge on the outskirts of Grahamstown.

It is a much-branched, scrambling, spiny, evergreen shrub which grows to a height of about 3 meters. The fruit ripens from green to a yellowish-white.

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