The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Large Spur-flower Bush

Afrikaans name: Persmuishondblaar

Large Spur-flower Bush

Above - Beautiful mauve flowers on the Large Spur-flower Bush

Photo © Steven Herbert

Plectranthus ecklonii

The Large Spur-flower Bush is a shrub that can grow up to 2.5 metres in height. Some may reach a height of 3 metres. They are normally found in clearings in forests but can also be found along the heavily vegetated banks of streams. It only occurs eastern regions of South Africa from Barberton southwards to Somerset East. They thrive in areas with good annual rainfall.

It provides a beautiful display of mauve flowers in the late summer months. The flowers line stalks that are 25 cm or more in length. Cultivated varieties have been produced with pink and white flowers. The flowers appear in autumn with the peak being in April. The leaves of the Large Spur-flower Bush are toothed along the edges and have small hairs on top. They can be nearly 20 cm in length.

This plant has been used by traditional healers to treat hay fever and headaches. Now smokers don’t get excited but if you crush the leaves of this Plectranthus it will leave a stain which rather looks like nicotine. There are several species of Plectranthus that are grown by gardeners but this one is by far the most attractive. It can handle a bit of frost, but it can be grown successfully in containers in sheltered spots.

References and further reading

What Flower is That? Autumn and Winter - Author: Hazel Stokes - Published: 1969 - Page: 71

Gardening with Indigenous Shrubs - Author: David and Sally Johnson, Geoff Nichols - Published: 2002 - Page: 83

Indigenous Beginnings - Author: Anneke Kearney - Published: 2008 - Page: 57

SA Wild Flower Guide No 2 - Outeniqua, Tsitsikamma and Eastern Little Karoo - Author: Audrey Moriarty - Published: 1982 - Page: 158

The Gardener - 2018/05 - Author: - Published: 2018 - Page: 18

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

Butterfly Gardening in South Africa - Author: Jill Reid - Published: 2000 - Page: 60

A Field Guide to Wild Flowers in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 2005 - Page: 474


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