September 2021

The Sabi Star

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The Sabi Star

Kirsten Tinkler
By Kirsten Tinkler
Field Guide

She opens her heart to reveal a deep magenta centre. Each of her five petals delicately expanding to radiate her beauty. From the side she holds an elegant trumpet-like figure, a vast contrast to the thick bulbus stems that elevate her. A plant so overlooked in summer months, but in winter is the star of the show.

A bright rich fuchsia outlines the star, bleeding softly into the pure white of each petal. These show-stopping blossoms attract many creatures, from the Natal bar butterfly (Cigaritis natalensis), pictured below, to baboons, duiker and impala.

Another name for this species is the impala lily or desert rose (Adenium multiflorum)


Not all is quite as it seems however. Hidden in her stems, bark and trunk can be found a highly toxic and deadly latex. A latex so poisonous that it was honed by African tribes and used to cover arrow heads when hunting.

Nature creates such stunning aesthetics and it’s hard to sometimes resist the urge to want or need such beautiful things. In a world where attraction and wanting is thrust upon us and the sense of never really quite having enough is indefinite, it can be hard to live life with sufficient adequacy.

Sometimes it’s enough to stand back and admire, to appreciate and behold without interference or intervention. For even the most beautiful of objects can have a deadly side…