Agathosma ovata is a variable shrub and occurs from the
Western Cape up into Kwazulu-Natal and Lesotho. It is commonly
known as the false buchu. 'Kluitjieskraal' is one of the selected
forms of Agathosma ovata grown and displayed at Kirstenbosch
Botanical Garden. The cultivar name 'Kluitjieskraal" refers
to its place of origin. Agathosma ovata 'Kluitjieskraal'
is found growing near the Kluitjieskraal River at Tulbagh/Wolseley
and in the Ceres district. It is found growing on Table Mountain
ovata 'Kluitjieskraal' produces dense clusters of pink flowers
which cover the entire bush, creating a magnificent show. The profusion
of flower and colour attracts pollinators such as bees, and other
This buchu forms a compact, evergreen shrub growing to a height
of 500mm and spread of 600mm. Showy display of dark pink flowers
cover the bush from mid autumn to early spring (May to September).
The five-petalled, star-shaped flowers are 8mm broad and are borne
towards the tips of the branches. The leaves are small, typically
ovate (10-15 mm long). Glands containing volatile oils dot the leaves.
Buchu's volatile oils also act as a deterrent to plant eaters and
protect the bushes from pests. The oils may also be released on
hot days to from a layer of vapour that protect the plant from excess
transpiration. (Gould 1990).
The buchus grown commercially for their medicinal properties and
essential oils are Agathosma crenulata and Agathosma betulina.
Oil is extracted for use in manufacturing cosmetics, soaps and medicinally
for the treatment of renal disorder and chest complaints.
The medicinally properties of this plant were discovered by the
Khoi who named the plant "buchu".
ovata 'Glentana'and Agathosma ovata 'Witteklip'are two
other selection forms of this species which make good garden plants.
Agathosma ovata 'Glentana'forms a neat, upright, evergreen
shrub and grows to a height of 1-1,5 m. Pale pink flowers cover
the bush from late winter to spring.
Agathosma ovata 'Witteklip'a compact aromatic shrub covered with
white star shaped flowers from late winter to spring. It grows to
a height of 500 mm and is especially suited to coastal gardens.
Growing Agathosma ovata 'Kluitjieskraal'
Agathosma ovata 'Kluitjieskraal' has a neat appearance and
grows at a moderate rate. It is an ideal water-wise plant for any
home garden and requires minimal water once established. It can
be grown as a groundcover, filler plant, clipped into a hedge, grown
in a pot or used in a herb garden.
This buchu adapts easily in any garden and requires a well-drained,
humus riched soil. Grow in full sun or in an area where it will
receive sun for at least half the day. Planted in shade, flowering
and flower colour are adversely affected. Plants require moderate
watering and will respond well to slow released fertilizer such
as 3:1:5. Pinch back new growth to encourage bushy growth.
Agathosma ovata 'Kluitjieskraal' can be propagated from
seed and cuttings. Fresh seed must be sown in autumn on a medium
of equal parts sand, loam and compost. Lightly cover sown seed with
bark and water. Young seedlings will emerge after four weeks.
Propagating buchus from cuttings has the advantage of producing
a larger flowering plant. Softwood or herbaceous cuttings, 50-70mm
long, are taken from the current year's growth. Prepare cuttings
by making a clean cut below the node and remove the third of the
foliage. Dip the base of the cutting in a rooting hormone. Firmly
place the cuttings in a medium of 50% bark and 50 % polystyrene.
Ideally these cuttings should now be placed in an well-aerated propagation
unit with a bottom heat of 24-degree Celsius. Rooting occurs in
9 to 11 weeks. Carefully pot the rooted cuttings using a well-drained,
humus riched, fynbos potting medium (2 parts leafmould, 1 part coarse
sand). Plants will be ready for planting in 7 to 8 months. Feed
regularly with a well-balanced nutrient. Yellow leaves can be treated
with an application of iron chelate.
Gould, M. (1990): Agathosma ovata : designed for living.
Veld and Flora Vol.76 (4): 112-113