Eriocephalus africanus – The Cape Snow Bush

Eriocephalus africanus – The Cape Snow Bush

Common names: Wild Rosemary or kapokbossie

Eriocephalus africanus, common name ‘kapokbossie’, is derived from the white flowers along our roadsides and on the mountains.

The Cape Snow Bush

They look like snow when they flower in the winter and spring and this indigenous shrub is widely distributed in the Eastern, Western and Northern Cape.

Eriocephalus africanus is a hardy, attractive shrub with a small to medium height up to 1 metre. The leaves are needle-like in shape, soft in texture and are intensely aromatic. The flowers are not showy on their own, but the bushes are quite pretty when they bear their clusters of tiny white daisy flowers, at branch tips (in winter when we need colour and spring). The small white flowers are roughly scalloped petals with reddish-brown centres and are quickly followed by fluffy white seed-heads that look like cotton wool. These fluffy seed-heads are used by birds for nest lining, and the plant is also essential to many insects as a source of nectar and pollen, and they attract bees to your garden.

Eriocephalus africanus

Evergreen and Hardy

Eriocephalus africanus is evergreen and hardy shrub, which is fast-growing and needs regular pruning to keep it in shape. It is drought-hardy and can be planted in rockeries, retaining walls, slopes and in grasslands. They are also great for coastal planting and only need a mulch of good organic matter in spring. The Cape Snow Bush can also be pruned into an informal hedge, and it only requires well-drained soil and a sunny position. Remember to water well until your plant is established.

Potpourri and Relaxant Friend

This special plant can be used as a fragrant addition to potpourri and as filler-in for fynbos flower arrangements. Medicinal uses include antibacterial, relaxant, treatment for coughs and colds and as a foot bath for swollen feet. Eriocephalus africanus is also used in cooking and essential oils. The oils are derived from the leaves and used as an ingredient in medicinal and perfume industries.

Eriocephalus africanus is a true South African plant with many uses in and around the house, and even when it doesn’t flower, the foliage adds a different colour and texture to your garden.

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