Hypoestes Aristata: Ribbon Bush
As cold weather sets in, ribbon bush proliferates all over the garden, climbing walls and fences, camouflaging the compost heap, covering ugly, open spaces, filling in dreary gaps, cheering up the foliage in autumn and winter. No care needed, scant watering and the only job necessary is to prune hard when the flowers are finished flowering. The ribbon bush flowers for at least three months, April to July. Ribbon bush attracts bees and butterflies and is a source of food for thrushes and robins. The petals which curl like a florist's ribbon are the source of the name.
I purchased a single indigenous ribbon bush from the R 3 and R5 nursery on Lynnwood Road, years ago. (You can see that first plant on my blog pic.) I despised its homely appearance and dark green leaves - definitely a garden orphan. But as it has made its mysterious way throughout the whole garden and supplied colour when things are drab, I have changed my mind. My book on indigenous South African plants says the leaves can be eaten like spinach and the crushed leaves are used in a traditional poultice for sore eyes.