Nymania capensis

Chinese Lantern or Klapperbos


Perhaps best known by the Afrikaans common name, Klapperbos, Nymania Capensis is an upright shrub, or sometimes a small tree, that grows in dry areas of the winter rainfall region of the Cape.

Small, dull green, spear-shaped leaves grow in tufts along the rigid branches. The rather insignificant reddish flowers transform into spectacular, pink, papery seed pods that adorn the plants for months on end. Brown pea-like seeds are contained within these attractive receptacles.

The seeds germinate readily and plants are relatively slow-growing, taking three years to reach 1 m or so in height. In gardens they perform best in dry, winter rainfall climates and are often difficult to establish in areas outside of their natural distribution.

They often suffer from transplant shock and trauma resulting in a high mortality rate because of root disturbance. In nature they endure cold winters and extremely hot summer temperatures. The Klapperbos in full seed is certainly a splendid sight to behold in its natural arid habitat.

The Gardener