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A picture of a Pistol Bush

Pistol Bush

Duvernoia adhatodoides

Photo by MikeLumley (All rights reserved)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size








3 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

Pistol Bush Overview

Pistol Bush gets it's name form the seed capsule dehiscing explosively with a load crack. It is a small tree or shrub with a long flowering season and makes a decorative garden plant. In nature it occurs in forest, forest margins, along streams, in ravines and on rocky outcrops, often in colonies, and often as an understorey shrub in forest.

Common problems with Pistol Bush

Generally problem free

    How to harvest Pistol Bush

    To harvest the seeds (since the seeds are released explosively), collect them with regular visits while they are ripening. Bag the fruiting heads on the mother plant or remember to place the capsules in a container with a sturdy lid, to prevent the seeds from being scattered to all corners of the drying room.

    How to propagate Pistol Bush


    Sow fresh seed in spring or summer, keep moist and warm in a shaded position.


    Take semi-hardwood heel cuttings, use side shoots in early summer, treat with rooting hormone, use well-aerated potting medium, root with bottom heat and overhead misting.

    Special features of Pistol Bush

    Attracts useful insects

    Attracts bees

    Attracts birds

    Attractive flowers

    Wind break

    Hedge plant

    Other uses of Pistol Bush

    Raw materials

    It has been used in the construction of traditional houses and is possibly also used to make household utensils.


    Duvernoia adhatodoides is an excellent, fast-growing and decorative garden plant, with white flowers in late summer and attractive foliage all year. This species does best in a cool, moist site and is well-suited to coastal gardens, although it is best not exposed to strong, drying winds like Cape Town’s south-easter. It can be used as a background planting for the herbaceous border, in the shrubbery, as a screening plant or an informal hedge.

    Other uses


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