2 - 3 m
yellow; September to December; spring summer
sun; semi-shade; container; screen; small area trees; shrubbery; wildlife insects bees birds butterfly host
woodland forest; coastal kzn; bushveld; grassland; coastal eastern cape
bushveld savanna; subtropical east coast; thicket;
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Covered in yellow gold flowers set against bright green leaves washed with red, this shrub or small tree is a showstopper come September. The Natal Plane is one of our showiest September shrubs with golden yellow flowers gleaming among the dark green leaves that are washed with a coppery-red at this time of year. Even out of flower the glossy, serrated leaves make this a most attractive shrub or small tree. Depending on the situation it may drop leaves for a short time towards the end of winter. With an average height of 2 – 3 m, and upright form and branches close to ground level, it forms a beautiful though relatively slow-growing screen. Flower shows are exceptional; large (2 cm in diameter) with slightly wavy edges and fluffy centres, they cluster along branches and stems, some hanging from the tips, others tucked in among the leaves. With a sweet fragrance and covered in pollen, they attract insects, including bees, and butterflies. Fruits are unusual, black berries attached to red sepals and are snapped up by birds. Ochna flowers when young from September to December. A young plant has smooth grey-brown bark that roughens with age, an attractive backdrop to the gloss and gleam of leaf and flower. A shrub for a sunny or semi-shade situation, the Natal Plane can withstand light frost and moderate drought and does best where summers are warm and rainfall high. It is a versatile species though and will enjoy most climates. Natural Habitat: Forest margin in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, Limpopo and North West.