Cape Honey Flower

Also known as:
Giant Honey Flower, Honey Bush, False Castor Oil Plant
South Africa

General description

Strong growing, clump-forming, perennial shrub <2m tall. Stout stems soft-wooded & hollow. Huge, greyish, strong-smelling frond-like leaves <1m long divided into folded, toothed leaflets. Dark reddish-brown, foul-smelling flowers (Jul-Apr) on end of long flower spikes. Inflated papery seedpods, sharply angled.

Gardens, waste areas, roadsides, harbour margins, sand dunes.

Seeds spread through estuaries & waterways to harbour margins. Locally spread by creeping, suckering root system. Dumping.

Forms a dense cover of 2m in open conditions & impedes regeneration under 50% canopy cover. Competes with understorey natives under tall kanuka/mänuka forest. Toxic to stock.

Site management

Livestock shun because of taste & poison, however will eat wilting leaves. Plant invades grazed sites, therefore exclude livestock at all times, esp. when controlling weed.

Recommended approaches

1. Dig out small plants disposing of roots.
2. Cut & stump paint (5g metsulfuron/1L or 200ml Tordon BK /1L). Follow-up on suckering shoots continuously.
3. Spray large sites spring - summer (5g metsulfuron +10ml penetrant/10L or 60ml Tordon BK+10ml penetrant/10L).

Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

RPMS status

Surveillance - Whole Region
Cape honey flower - Main species image