Wild rosemary


Wild rosemary

Eriocephalus africanus

Scientific name

Eriocephalus africanus is a bushy shrublet indigenous to South Africa. It is fragrant, with lightly felted foliage that gives the plant a matt silvery appearance. The inflorescences are small brown and pale yellow heads borne in corymbs; each head bears a few bisexual disk florets with abortive ovaries and snowy white petals that practically cover a bush in flower. The disk florets surround usually some four to eight female florets in the centre.

Its extensive root system makes Eriocephalus africanus resistant to drought and able to recover from grazing by animals.

Ecologically the plant is important to many insects as a source of nectar and pollen, and as a minor browse to flocks and antelope. Essential oil derived from E. africanus is used as an ingredient in medicinal and perfume products. The plant has been used in traditional medicine and in cooking.

Also known as Cape Snow Bush, Wilde Roosmaryn

Propagation instructions

By seed

Eriocephalus prefers full sun and well drained soils.

In the western Cape it is best to plant during the wet winter months so that the plants can establish themselves before the dry summer.

New plants are easy to propagate from seed or cuttings.

The seed may be sown in autumn or spring and germinates within 10 days. 

By cutting

Eriocephalus roots easily from tip or heel cuttings taken in spring or autumn.

The root system is well developed with a taproot that can penetrate the soil to a depth of 6 m, and lateral roots that extend about 2 m around the plant and are closer to the surface.

The shrubs can be pruned lightly to encourage bushy growth, to shape into a hedge or even a ball.

References and further reading

PlantZAfrica profile »

Wikipedia page »

Image credit: JonRichfield
Seedbank Quantity
Arundel Seedbank 107
Total 107

This table below shows how many plants we are trying to obtain for this species.

Site Area Quantity
Site #7 Delft 3
Site #12 Delft 6
Site #15 Rosebank 15
Site #66 Mowbray 25
Site #64 Mowbray 20
Site #20 Rosebank 70
Site #102 Newlands 15
Site #96 Bonteheuwel 15
Site #103 Mowbray 15
Site #95 Bonteheuwel 15
Site #104 Athlone 15
Site #105 Rosebank 15
2 other sites 30
Total 229

Can you help grow this species?

We are in need of this species! Can you help? Maybe you have this species at home, or perhaps you can collect seeds or cuttings (if applicable) from friends or from a public space. If so, why don't you help establish this species in areas where it is much needed!

I can help!

Important characteristics

Conservation status: Least Concern

This species was selected because it has various important characteristics.

It provides medicinal value

It is a pioneer species suitable for establishing the soil in bare areas

Drought-resistant

Fragrant

Edible

Pioneer species

Easy to grow

Eriocephalus africanus is indigenous to: Peninsula Shale Renosterveld

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