Tuesday, June 3, 2014


We take a days journey up the west coast of South Africa to visit a rare and utterly unique plant called Kukumakranka - alias K4- Gethyllis species.
This plant has very strange growing habits and is the basis for many a nostalgic story from the older generation who played games sniffing them out in the sandveld when they were in fruit as their tropical fruity smell is legendary.

We are anxious to meet K4  as we want to use this fruity wild harvested plant note in our African Wild Harvest Perfume Range. We have been introduced to it by a Mr Melck - whose life's passion is the preservation and propogation of this very special species of plants

Mr Melck invites us to his farm and like all South African farmsteads - we experience warm delicious hospitality in the shape of tea and home baked apple and cape gooseberry pie

Mr Melck tells about the strange growing habits of K4. It grows ever so close to the ground and gets eaten by buck, tortoises and hares. It first gives off the leaves, then the leaves die down and one sees nothing there. then out come the prettiest little flowers - again close to the sand and delicious for animals to eat. If the flower gets eaten, it does not have a chance to fruit and seed.

and then......... if the flower was miraculously not eaten, the fruit forms beneath the ground in the shape of little bananas and pushes up out of the soil with a fragrance of tropical summer fruits and strawberries

Traditional use was to place a fruit in the local homemade witblitz for a fruity taste, or to eat the fruit fresh from the soil, or to dry the skins for a fragrant Bible bookmark

Mr Melck knows all the plants on his farm by name and number. He knows which give large tasty fruit and which have interesting colours. He has a tunnel in which is germinates all the seeds he collects and where he carefully nurtures the plants to adult hood - a period of six years before they bear.

His hope and dream is to give away 100 plants to each farmer in the district and to encourage them to take care of the plants and to ensure the survival of this rare and special species.
We have the privilege of receiving the fragrant fruit after  the seeds have been removed. We are currently tincturing them at Rain to use in a seasonal once off batch of Kukumakranka Harvest Product. Watch this space for limited edition items available only as and when we are able to get this ubiquitous fruit.

Winter essential: Wild harvested Baobab oil

There is a beautiful African folklore story about how the Baobab tree came to be African and also known as ‘the upside-down tree’. ...