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Plant Information

Scientific Name: Melianthus comosus
Alternative Names: Kruidjie-roer-my-niet, Kokkoromoniet (Afr) Ibonya (Zu)

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Melianthus comosus
Melianthus comosus
Melianthus comosus


  • Perennial
  • Indigenous to South Africa.
  • Attractive multi-stemmed shrub with large, gray-green, serrated leaves that are clustered towards the tips of the branches.
  • Small green flowers with bright red petals are born in short clusters and produce an abundance of black nectar (liquid) that attracts Sunbirds, Cape White Eyes, bees and butterflies.
  • The flowers are followed by four-winged bladdery capsules.
  • All parts of the plant produce a strong, unpleasant smell when bruised or touched, hence the Afrikaans name Kruidjie-roer-my-nie.
  • Prefers full sun and well-drained soil.
  • Ideal plant for a low maintenance, water wise garden, but it does need to be pruned to keep it neat and to encourage new growth.
  • It can also be planted in the informal shrub border and makes a good accent at the side of a pond.

Parts Used

  • Fresh leaves or roots.

Medicinal Uses. It is said that

  • Leaf poultices and leaf infusions (wash) are used topically to treat septic wounds, sores and bruises - an ointment can be made by simmering the leaves in oil or lard.
  • Leaf infusions can be added to bath water to treat backache, rheumatic fever and rheumatic joints.
  • It is a traditional remedy for snakebite.
  • Root infusions have been used to treat cancer and strong leaf infusions can be applied topically to ringworm .

Other Uses

  • When placing traps for jackals and other wild animals, branches of Melianthus comosus are used to wipe the ground to remove the smell of humans.
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff
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