To be found in the eastern parts of South Africa, mostly on the hillsides in the shade under trees or shrubs
General: This plant has a greenish-white, fleshy tuberous bulb, without any papery or fibrous outer scales. The upper ends of the fleshy scales form distinctive rings around the middle of the bulb, from where the green leafless climbing and creeping branchlets arise.
Leaves: Apparently leafless, but seedlings in their earliest stage produce 3 or 4 long thin leaves 2 - 3 mm wide and as much as 10 cm long. These leaves survive only until a small bulb has developed and are seldom seen. The succulent bright green branchlets, which will then develop, perform photosynthetic functions like true leaves.
Flowers: The flowers are small, greenish-white stars 1-2 cm across. January - March.
Fruit: Inconspicuous capsule 2x1 cm; seeds black, winged. March- April.
Several cardiac glycosides have been found in this plant. They are all glycosides of bovogenin A and structurally related to bufadienolides.
• Cardiac arrhythmias
Followed by death within minutes or hours depending on the amount ingested.
Colour photos. Final web-ready size: JPEG, 72 ppi. Photo 1: 8.8 kb; Photo 2: 7.3 kb; Photo 3: 50.7 kb; Photo 4: 50.7 kb. Original TIFF file housed at the Dept. of Paraclinical Sciences, Section Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Pretoria.