This beautiful, free-flowering, evergreen shrub is fast growing, drought resistant and easy to grow. Tecomaria capensis normally has bright orange-red trumpet shaped flowers, but colour forms from yellow through orange to deep red are commonly available. It is an excellent plant for a wildlife friendly garden, attracting bees, butterflies, moths and nectar feeding birds, especially sunbirds, their main pollinators.
- Tecomaria – “tecoma”, a closely related genus and “aria” denoting this relationship.
- capensis – from the Cape of Good Hope.
- Cape-honeysuckle (Eng), Kaapse kanferfoelie (Afr), morapa-šitšane (Nso), xunguxungu (Tso), mpashile (Ven), and umunyane (Zul).
SAF Number: 673.1
Size: 2 – 4 m (–17 m) by 3 – 5 m.
- Narrow tubular flowers, widening to a 5 lobed, 2 lipped mouth.
- Flowers in dense, terminal clusters.
- Very showy when in full flower.
- Flowers produce copious amounts of nectar.
Colour: Orange-red, but also yellow, salmon, peach, apricot and red.
Flowering Months: All year with peaks in Sep-Oct and Mar-May.
Fragrance: Not fragrant.
- Leaves are compound, usually about seven leaflets and dark glossy green.
- The rachis (the stalk to which the leaflets are attached) and the petiole (leaf stalk) are slightly winged (flattened).
- The leaflets are variable in shape, elliptic to almost round, with scalloped margins.
Thorns: No thorns.
- Long and narrow (13 * 1 cm), flattened pod-like capsule, green to brown.
- The capsule split lengthwise when ripe, releasing the papery winged seeds.
- Pale brown.
- Young stems have many lenticels.
In the Garden:
- Tecomaria capensis can be used to great effect in almost any garden or landscape.
- Planted en-masse on large embankments it can make a spectacular show.
- Tecomaria may be used to make a stunning hedge.
- Inter-plant with other shrubs like Plumbago auriculata, Bauhinia galpinii, Freylinia tropica and Leonotis leonurus for a spectacular colourful effect.
- Use as a screen to hide walls and fences, or as a feature plant on its own.
- There are many colour forms to choose from, from pale yellow to deep red.
- It can be used along boundary walls or amongst other plants in a shrubbery.
- The yellow form, known as Tecomaria capensis “Lutea” is a more compact shrub and more cold hardy than other varieties.
- A good choice for coastal gardens as it is wind resistant.
- A wildlife friendly plant, attracting insects and birds.
- Quick growing.
- A low maintenance plant.
- Feed with organic fertilizer and mulch with compost.
- Prune after winter to shape and stimulate flowering.
- Protect young plants against the cold in winter.
- Semi-hardy, but frosted plants normally recover quickly.
- Protect young plants.
- Drought hardy, but thrives on regular water in summer.
Light Requirements: More sun than shade.
Roots: The roots are not aggressive.
- Insect-eating birds are attracted to the insects that visit these plants.
- Nectar feeders and sunbirds feed on the rich nectar in the flowers.
Insects and Butterflies:
- Honey bees, adult butterflies and other insects feed from the flowers.
- Tecomaria capensis is the larval host to Barker’s Smokey Blue and the Common Blue.
- Adult butterflies feed on nectar from the flowers.
- It is also larval host to 10 moth species.
- Used to treat many conditions, fever, insomnia, bleeding gums, dysentery, pain and chest ailments.
- Also used to stimulate milk flow in feeding Mothers.
Poisonous: Not poisonous.
Notes of interest:
- Some American botanists a few years ago decided that Tecomaria should be included in the genus Tecoma. This has been shown to be incorrect and the genus Tecomaria, was re-instated, but some nurseries and books published at the time have the incorrect name.
- A bright red variety called ‘Rocky Horror’ is sometimes available.
- Some antelope do browse the leaves.
- Grown as an ornamental shrub in many other parts of the world, it is an unwanted invasive alien in some places, including the West Indies and New Zealand.
- Found in the WC, EC KZN, Swa, Moz, M and L.
- The subspecies Tecomaria capensis subsp. capensis is endemic to southern Africa.
- Fynbos, thicket, savanna-lowveld and savanna-bushveld.
- In margins of evergreen forests, in bush and scrub in coastal areas and along streams.
- From sea level to 1 200m.