The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Speckled Spur-flower

Afrikaans name: Gespikkelde Muishondblaar

Speckled Spur-flower

Speckled Spur-flower

Photo © Steven Herbert

Plectranthus ciliatus

The Speckled Spur-flower is an attractive plant that is popular with gardeners in sub-tropical areas. They make a good ground cover in shady areas.

In the wild it is found on the forest floor in damp areas that do not experience frost. Although it is most common in KwaZulu-Natal it is found from the Western Cape through to Mpumalanga. It spreads by means of its trailing stems which sprout roots at the nodes. The stems are covered with purple hairs.

They can grow to a height of 60 cm. The flowers of the Speckled Spur-flower, which have no stalk, are whitish purple in colour and are borne in spikes. The purple often appears as little specks or spots on the white background. The flowers are borne between September and May, with the peak being in April.

The leaves, which are up to 8 cm in length, are interesting in that they are green on top and purple underneath. The edges of the leaves are finely toothed.

These plants attract a lot of insects. Butterflies are particularly fond of them.

When you run out of washing powder you could use this plant to wash your clothes!

Speckled Spur-flower leaves

Leaves of the Speckled Spur-flower

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

A Field Guide to Wild Flowers in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 2005 - Page: 184

Field Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa - Author: John Manning - Published: 2009 - Page: 426

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