isiXhosa: Umhlonishwa

Afrikaans: Fonteinbos

Fountain bush


Fountain bush

Psoralea pinnata

Scientific name

Psoralea pinnata is an erect shrub or small tree which grows up to 4 m high, with blue, lilac and white pea-shaped flowers which bloom from October to December.

Two of the outstanding characteristics of this genus are its strong scent, and the resinous, dark or transparent dots which cover the leaves.

The leaves are compound and are composed of several pairs of leaflets and a terminal one. The leaflets are 50 mm long and 3 mm wide and are aromatic when crushed. The pea-flowers are borne at the ends of the branches or in the axils of the upper leaves. Although the flowers are seldom very showy, they are delicate and charming on the slender branches. White-eyes are often seen probing for insects attracted to the flowers.

There are 130 species worldwide with 50 species occurring in southern Africa.

Propagation instructions

By seed

It is best grown from seed. A handful of soil taken from below the parent plant and added to the seed tray is generally helpful when sowing Fabaceae seeds. This helps to ensure that the symbiotic mycorrhiza which grow on the roots and encourage nutrient uptake are present. Seedlings should be planted along a stream or in an area which receives a substantial amount of water.

By cutting

As with most Fabaceae, growing Psoralea pinnata is quite difficult from cuttings.

References and further reading

PlantZAfrica profile »

Wikipedia page »

Image credit: Krzysztof Golik
Seedbank Quantity
Arundel Seedbank 20
Total 20
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Important characteristics

Conservation status: Least Concern

This species was selected because it has various important characteristics.

Fragrant

Easy to grow

It provides food for:

Honeybees/flies

Psoralea pinnata is indigenous to: Cape Flats Sand Fynbos

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