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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Milkweed

Afrikaans name: Balbossie

Milkweed otherwise known as Balloon Plant

Milkweed

Photo © Steven Herbert

Gomphocarpus physocarpus

Milkweed is called by many other names (some of which can't be mentioned here). Some of the other names are Balloon Milkweed, Hairy Balls and Balloon Wild Cotton.

This is a scraggly looking bush up to 2 metres tall. If it wasn't for the balloon-like 'fruits' then the plant would probably get overlooked. It does, however, get a pretty flower.

Milkweed is found over most of South Africa.

Milkweed gives off a milky fluid when damaged which gives rise to its common name. This latex is poisonous and should not be swallowed.

Balloon Plant

Photo © Steven Herbert

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References and further reading

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