GIANT HONEY FLOWER (Melianthus Major)

I’ve only ever seen 2 Giant Honey Flower (Melianthus Major) plants in Melbourne.

One was in a very sheltered garden bed in a National Trust Property, Como House, and the other was in the back garden of The Abbotsford Convent, (in the inner north-east suburb of Melbourne overlooking the Yarra River).  The images below are from that second garden and thankfully, there were flowers in bloom so I could identify the plant the second time around.

It’s actually the leaves which I find interesting.  You can’t miss their distinctive shape.

The Giant Honey Flower is an evergreen suckering shrub, endemic to South Africa and naturalised in India, Australia and New Zealand.  It grows to 7-10 feet tall by 3-10 feet wide, with pinnate blue-green leaves 12-20 inches long, which have a distinctive odour.

Dark red, nectar-laden flower spikes, 12-31 inches in length, appear in Spring, followed by green pods.

All parts of the plant are poisonous.

The plant generally requires a sheltered position and may need a protective winter mulch in temperate regions like Melbourne.

10 thoughts on “GIANT HONEY FLOWER (Melianthus Major)

  1. How lovely to see these pictures! We used to have one growing in our garden for years – I too found it a most interesting plant. Sadly, successive seasons of drought brought about its demise with no seedlings to follow in its wake.

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    1. The leaves alone would keep me interested, Anne.
      Shame the drought has affected so many plants, I think we all need rain. I remember seeing a recent news report that September had the lowest rainfall on record here.


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