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Hymenolepis crithmoides

Today we feature yet another useful and attractive landscaping plant: Hymenolepis crithmoides, previously known as H. parviflora. Its common name, Feathery coulter bush, reflects the feathery texture of the silvery foliage.

In nature, it is found growing on slopes and flats from Tulbagh to the Peninsula and Caledon and inland into the Karoo. One of the easiest places to see how this plant grows in its natural habitat is Sir Lowrie’s pass where it flourishes in profusion and can currently be seen in full bloom. It can also be seen on the sea-facing slopes of the Kogelberg.

This shrub survives drought conditions thanks to its extensive root system and is therefore highly suited to conditions where summer drought is the norm. At the same time, it is tolerant of the extremely wet conditions often experienced in the peninsula during winter.

In general, this plant will remain densely leafy and reach a height of 1.2m. The large, flat-topped inflorescences with their masses of lime-green buds that open to reveal golden florets are exceptionally showy and have a rich, honey scent.

This shrub thrives in a variety of adverse conditions, surviving saline winds, poor soils, frost, drought and waterlogging with ease. Thanks to its deep roots, it could also be applied to slope stabilisation projects.

In containers, Hymenolepis crithmoides is not drought tolerant because of the limited root system containers allow, but once established in the natural soil it will tolerate extreme conditions. Try combining it with blue Felicias, summer-flowering Pelargoniums or purple Monopsis unidentata ‘Royal Flush’.


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