Melianthus comosus Vahl

Tufted Honey-flower

Symb. Bot. 3: 86 (1794) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Erect shrub 2–3 m high; branches canescent or villous. Leaves 10–15 cm long; leaflets 9–11, oblong-lanceolate, 4–6 cm long, 10–20 mm wide, deeply serrate, subsessile, dark green with sparse minute stellate hairs above, grey-tomentose below; stipules subulate, 10–25 mm long, free. Racemes nodding or spreading, to c. 9 cm long; pedicels to c. 10 mm long; bracts ovate, to c. 15 mm long, acuminate. Flowers alternate; sepals conspicuously pouched at base, pubescent, greenish and pink, upper 2 broad-ovate, 10–20 mm long, with a dark red spot inside at the base, lower 3 lanceolate, shorter than upper pair; petals oblanceolate, 12–15 mm long, red. Capsule 25–30 mm long, 4-winged, stellate-downy; seeds ovoid to subglobose, 4–5 mm long. Flowers mainly winter and spring.

*CVU, *GipP, *Gold, *GGr, *HSF, *Strz, *VVP. Also naturalised SA. Native to South Africa. Commonly cultivated, and now becoming naturalised at a number of sites in drier parts of Victoria (e.g. Castlemaine, Inglewood, Steiglitz).

The leaves of this plant have an unpleasant odour and are apparently very poisonous to stock.

Source: Jeanes, J.A. (1999). Melianthaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Daniel Ohlsen, 2017-06-14
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Geraniales
family Melianthaceae
genus Melianthus
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Melianthus comosus in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Melianthus comosus in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present introduced
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
Greater Grampians present introduced
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised
Strzelecki Ranges present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
South Australia