Tecoma capensis (Thunb.) Spach

Family name: Bignoniaceae
Common names:
Cape honeysuckle (E), Malangula (Swazi), umsilingi (Xhosa)

Tecoma capensis

Cape honeysuckle is a fast growing, scrambling shrub which may grow up to 2-3m high and spread more than 2.5m. This shrub is widely distributed throughout Northern Province, Mpumalanga, Swaziland, KwaZulu-Natal, Cape coast and Mozambique. Until recently it was known as Tecomaria capensis. Tecoma capensis is an evergreen plant in warm climate areas but loses its leaves in colder areas. It has pinnately compound leaves that have oval leaflets with blunt teeth. Flowering time for this shrub is very erratic and often it flowers all year round. Flowers vary from red, deep orange, yellow to salmon. Flowers are tubular and bird pollinated, attracting nectar-feeding birds, especially sunbirds.

Tecoma capensis is an ornamental garden plant commonly used for screening and decorative purposes. It can also be trimmed to form a hedge. It is often planted specifically to attract birds and butterflies. The powdered bark of this attractive garden plant is used as a traditional medicine to relieve pain and sleeplessness.

Several colours grown together

Growing Tecoma capensis

Tecoma capensis is widely cultivated and very easy to propagate. It can be propagated from cuttings or by removing rooted suckers during the active growth phase. In frosty areas young plants should be protected. Cape honeysuckle can be planted in semi-shade to full sun. To keep this shrub clean and tidy, it must be pruned back in late winter to promote new growth and flowers. The application of a balanced fertilizer after pruning will enhance the growth and flowering.

Thompson T Mutshinyalo
Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden
March 2001

Name updated Jan 2008

To find out if SANBI has seed of this or other SA species, please email our seedroom.

This page forms part of the South African National Biodiversity Institute's plant information website www.plantzafrica.com