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Kruidjie-roer-my-nie

Melianthus major

Giant honey flower (Eng.)

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This large striking shrub has large blue-grey to green leaves and huge bronze or maroon flower heads. They grow actively in winter and flower in spring. It attracts many birds due to its abundant nectar production. It has medicinal properties - the leaves are made into poultices which are applied to wounds, bruises, backaches, and sore joints, but is poisonous if consumed. While the plant is fairly low maintenance, it should be pruned back heavily to encourage new growth.

Planning

Difficulty
Easy
Fruiting time
Summer, Winter, Spring

Harvesting

To harvest seeds allow seedheads to dry on the plant. Remove and collect seeds. If the seeds are properly cleaned, they can be stored successfully.

Propagation

Seed
Sow seeds shallowly in Autumn, in seed trays filled with a well-drained medium and covered lightly with sand or finely milled bark. Germination takes 2-4 weeks. Plant out once strong enough, 1m apart.
Cuttings
Root basal or softwood cuttings in late spring or early summer.
Division
Divide in early spring

Special features

Attracts birds
Nectar-rich flowers attrack many birds.
Wet sites
The giant honey flower grows naturely along riverstreams, dams and in wetlands.

Geography

Origin
South Africa
Natural climate
Semi-arid

Environment

Light
Full Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Half-Hardy

Uses

Medicinal
Local people mostly use the leaves to make poultices and decoctions that are applied directly to wounds, bruises, backache and rheumatic joints.
Notes
Attractive foliage and attracts birds in spring time. Has medicinal properties.

Personality

Family
Melianthaceae
Flower colour
Deep bronze or maroon
Scent
Mild

Problems

Giant Honey Flower is bothered by spider mites, aphids, glasshouse whiteflies under glass but is generally not bothered by disease.

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