Cape honey flower
Melianthaceae - Melianthus major

What does it look like?

Cape honey flower is a clump-forming shrub, with stout, rough, hollow stems and a suckering root system.  It has frond-like leaves, divided into distinctively folded leaflets, that are covered in grey, hairy down (especially underneath). 

Tall, erect flower stalks have foul smelling, dark reddish-brown flowers from July to April, followed by inflated, papery, sharply-angled seed capsules containing long, shiny black seeds. 

Cape honey flower grows in a variety of habitats, including: sand dunes, sheltered coastal and steep areas, estuaries, inshore islands, disturbed lowland forest margins, shrubland, fernland, and especially on the east coast. It is also found in gardens, waste places and along roadsides.

Why is it a problem?

Forms a dense cover of 2m in open conditions and impedes regeneration under 50% canopy cover and competes with understorey natives growing under tall kanuka/mänuka forest.  Cape honey flower is toxic to stock.


Control Methods

Physical control:

Dig out small plants and dispose of roots at a refuse transfer station, burn, or bury deeply.

Herbicide control:

  • Cut and paint stump all year round with metsulfuron-methyl (600g/kg) at 5g per 1L water;
  • Cut & stump paint with Tordon Brushkiller 200ml per 1L water;
  • Spray large sites spring-summer with metsulfuron-methyl (600g/kg) at 5g per 10L water;
  • Tordon Brushkiller 25ml + penetrant per 10L water.

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide, PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed. 

Follow up regularly to check for root regrowth.

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