Red blush of win­ter

go! - - Upfront Letters -

QHORST PRITZEN from Wind­hoek writes: I grew up in Namibia and I travel of­ten, which is why I did a dou­ble take when I saw these flow­ers in the Khaudum area. I’ve never seen them be­fore. Can you help me iden­tify the species?

APlant ex­pert SILKE RÜGHEIMER says: This is Com­bre­tum platype­talum, also known as red-wing or scar­let com­bre­tum. It flow­ers in win­ter when most other plants are dor­mant, which is what makes it so striking. In Namibia, its range is con­fined to the Ka­vango and Caprivi (now Zam­bezi) re­gions. It also oc­curs in other coun­tries fur­ther north like Zim­babwe.

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