Karoo Boer-Bean

Schotia afra var. afra

Small Boer-Bean, Hottentots Bean, Karoohuilboerboon, Karoo-Boerboon, Kleinboerboontjie, Boonenboom (Afr.)

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This perennial tree-shrub can be used as a shade tree in the garden or a beautiful ornamental feature. The scarlet red flowers attract sunbirds which feed off the nectar. The seeds are edible and are usually prepared by being roasted and ground. ZA Distribution: Eastern Cape, Western Cape.

Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Summer, Autumn

Fruiting time

Autumn

Harvesting

Collect seeds in winter from browned seedpods which are scattered around the trees.

Propagation

Seed

Sow seeds during late spring in seed trays with moist, loamy soil. Keep in shaded area. Water well once a week. Germination should take place within 7 days.

Special features

Attracts birds

The nectar that is produced by the flowers attracts birds like Lesser Double Collared Sunbirds and Malachite Sunbirds.

Drought resistant

Can survive for extended periods with little watering.

Attracts useful insects

Host to certain butterflies (Deudorix antalis lays its eggs in the trees).

Special features

Origin

The Little Karoo, dry areas of the Eastern Cape and Southern parts of the Western Cape.

Natural climate

Temperate

Environment

Light

Full Sun

Soil moisture

Dry

Soil type

Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Acid, Neutral

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Edible

The seeds are edible and can be eaten when roasted and ground.

Personality

Family

Fabaceae

Flower colour

Pink, Red

Scent

None

Problems

Aphids or greenflies may attack the leaves. Spray with an approved aphicide or dishwashing liquid (10 mL in 5 L of water) once a week to break the insect's life cycle.

Related Problems

Credits

profile iconSchotia afra var. afra
by Ian Oliver, Karoo Desert NBG, March 2003 (Copyright South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa)