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Cape saffron

Cassin peragua

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The Cape saffron is a fynbos shrub with fragrant white flowers, and a unique saffron-coloured trunk. Its scientific name (a definitive misnomer) refers to the 'Paraguay tea' with which its discoverer, Linnaeus, had probably confused the Cape-based plant. It has become a common feature in many suburban gardens, where birds enjoy its fruits.

Planning

Difficulty
Moderate
Flowering time
Summer
Fruiting time
Winter

Propagation

Seed
Seeds are contained in the oval-shaped fruits, which turn dark purple when mature. Best results come from sowing the seeds in warmer months.
Cuttings
Heel or tip cuttings from semi-hardened new growth can be placed in a well-drained medium to propagate during warmer months. Rooting is slow, but replanting should be possible after 3-6 months.

Special features

Attracts birds
Birds eat the olive-coloured fruits.

Geography

Origin
South Africa Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga Isolated parts of Swaziland
Natural climate
Temperate coastal

Environment

Light
Partial Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Loam
Soil PH preference
Acid
Frost hardiness
Hardy

Uses

Timber
The wood of the Cape saffron has been used locally for centuries to make furniture.

Personality

Family
Celastraceae
Flower colour
White
Scent
Mild

Problems

Generally pest and disease free.

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