Melianthus major L.

Cape Honeyflower, Tall Cape Honeyflower, Honey Bush

Flowers and foliage

Flowers and foliage

Family: Melianthaceae

Genus: Melianthus

Category: Shrub - Evergreen

Zones: Hardy to 15 to 20F

Size: To 12' tall and wide

Growth Rate: Fast

Exposure: Sun, Filtered Sun, Part Shade


Large grey-blue leaves, to 12" long with 10 to 15 serrated leaflets. Flower spikes, maroon to bronze, winter to spring, followed by papery seed pods. Spreads by suckers.

From Bot. Reg. Usually kept in the greenhouse; but Miller says, the surest method to have it flower, is to plant it in the open ground, and to cover the shoots in frosty weather, so as to prevent their being killed at the top; having first chosen a wall with a southern aspect, and placed the plant in dry rubbish, that it may shoot less vigorously, be consequently less succulent, and therefore farther without the influence of frost. For, if the stalk is killed at the top, although it sprouts again, it will not flower the same season.


Native to South Africa, introduced to the Netherlands in 1673.

Published in Sp. Pl. 2: 639 in 1753.

PlantList shows this as an unresolved name.

Also published in Bot. Reg. 1: 45 in 1815.

From Bot. Reg. Native of the Cape of Good Hope; whence it was brought to Holland in the year 1673, and thence to England by Mr. Bentinck, afterwards Lord Portland.

Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner