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Melianthus major - L.

Common Name Honey Flower
Family Melianthaceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards The root is poisonous[73].
Habitats Damp sandy areas[260].
Range S. Africa and India.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (1 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Melianthus major Honey Flower


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Stan_Shebs
Melianthus major Honey Flower
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Stan_Shebs

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Melianthus major is an evergreen Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8. It is in leaf all year, in flower from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Cultivated Beds; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Nectar.
Edible Uses: Sweetener.

The honey-like nectar from the flowers is eaten[2, 105, 177, 183]. Deliciously sweet, a tiny bit seems to go a long way - which is very useful since the plant does not produce that much in the British climate[K].

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antidote;  Emetic;  Vulnerary.

Vulnerary[46, 61]. The root is poisonous and emetic, but is used as a remedy against snake bites[240].

Other Uses

Dye.

A violet dye is obtained from the flowers[168].

Cultivation details

Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun or light shade[200]. Prefers a rich loamy soil[1]. Fertile soils give good foliage effects but the plant flowers better on a poor soil[200]. A very ornamental plant it is only hardy in the milder areas of Britain[1], flowering freely in Cornwall[59]. In colder parts of the country it can be grown as a herbaceous perennial, dying down in winter but regrowing from the base in the spring[166, 200]. In these areas the rootstock must be well mulched[200]. The top growth is possibly hardy for short periods down to -10°c, whilst the rootstock is possibly hardy to -15°c if it is well mulched[187]. The flowers have a honey-like scent[245]. The bruised leaves have a strong aroma somewhat like peanut butter[K]. Plants are often used in sub-tropical bedding schemes[1]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].

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Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a warm greenhouse[188]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow on the seedlings for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts[K]. Cuttings of greenwood stem tips in a frame in summer[200]. Suckers in spring[200]. They can be planted out immediately or potted up and kept in a frame for their first winter.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Australia, East Africa, France, South Africa*, Southern Africa, Tasmania, Zambia,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

73200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Sue Davis   Wed Jun 15 05:12:47 2005

I have grown this plant outside for a number of years in a semi shaded area of my garden.....It leafs out wonderfully but I have never been able to get it to flower. I lost the shrub two years ago when we had a mild winter and a cold spring.....I have seen others in the Pacific Northwest ,Washington that have grown to 10' or more....having just purchased another one I am now ready to try again....this time with a sandy loam and in a pot. I like the plant for its wonderful leaves even though they do smell. Manybe now with our hotter Summers in British Columbia it may give me a flower...

Huub Schuurmans   Wed Apr 26 2006

Corgo do Pardieiro Picture of plant in Portugal

Jean Scott   Tue May 8 2007

I have grown this plant (coastal area in southern England, not Cornwall) for the first time and am now browsing the web to find out how to harvest its seeds. It has flowered this year, a huge pendulous flower like a sea horse. The wind caught the leaves over winter and took some of its foliage (06/07) but more growth has emerged from its base. I did not know at the time about mulching it and so it had very little tlc yet has survuved and flowered. I am proposing to cut it back when the flowers are finished. It looks as if the conditions (by chance) are OK for it despite the wind. It is in full sun and has a reasonable soil. I am hoping to propogate and grow one in front of a south facing wall now.

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