Freylinia lanceolata (Honeybells)
Plant image

Honeybells is a small, weeping, evergreen tree that attracts hosts of butterflies and other pollinators.

Name & classification

Botanical name:
Freylinia lanceolata

Common names:
Honeybells, Honeybell Bush, Yellow Bells (English); Heuningklokkiesbos (Afrikaans)

Plant family:
Scrophulariaceae
- Snapdragon and foxglove family

Plant categories:
Trees; Shrubs


Name derivation & history:
It was first cultivated in the garden of Count Freylino in Italy (1817), where, being a new plant, it caused quite a stir. The Latin name lanceolata means 'lance-shaped'. Freylinia is an African genus and there are nine species in South Africa. Most are shrubby, but a couple may occasionally become small trees. Freylinia tropica is another species often cultivated in gardens.

Pictures

Features

Leaf habit:
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Plant shape:
Golden-yellow, honey-scented bells appear rather incongruous on this sometimes untidy, evergreen shrub (4.5 x 4.5 m). Flowering is mainly from June (winter) to August (early spring), but can occur sporadically throughout the year. Freylinia lanceolata has long, arching, drooping branches of willow-like foliage. Usually multi-stemmed, it occasionally develops into a single-stemmed, weeping tree. The grey bark is smooth. Fruits are small brown capsules produced all year.

Habitat

Natural distribution:
This plant occurs in moist areas, along streams or on the edge of marshes/'vleis'in the southwestern Cape, northwards to Calvinia and eastwards to Uitenhage.

Habitat:
This plant occurs in moist areas, along streams or on the edge of marshes/'vleis'in the southwestern Cape, northwards to Calvinia and eastwards to Uitenhage.

Water requirements:
- Select -

Frost tolerance:
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Other Characteristics

Edibility & Toxicity

We have no confirmation that any part of this plant is edible
We have no confirmation that any part of this plant is toxic, however we urge caution as this information may be incorrect.

Ecology

Interaction with physical surroundings:
The flowers attract a variety of insects, which become food for insectivorous (insect-eating) birds such as blackheaded oriole, pied and crested barbets, Cape robin and thrushes.

Other information

Uses & Cultural aspects:
According to a note on a herbarium specimen, the wood is not strong enough to be of use, but the plant is attractive and has horticultural potential.

Cultivation:
This plant is easily propagated from seed. The tiny, wingless seeds germinate readily within three weeks. Take stem cuttings during the warmer summer months. Under suitable conditions young plants grow fast and may flower within a couple of seasons. Add lots of compost to the planting area and mulch well. Water regularly, particularly if the shrub is planted in a herbaceous border away from water. It enjoys moist conditions and is very fast-growing if well-watered. It would be perfectly at home positioned alongside a large dam, pond or water feature, where it could be kept pruned and tidied. If you have the time to spare, try pruning it into a single-stemmed tree. On farms, plant it on stream banks or in a large shrubbery, where the pretty flowers can be appreciated at close range. In home gardens, place it towards the back of an informal border-it is probably better suited to medium and larger gardens.

Wind-resistant, frost-hardy and relatively pest-free, F. lanceolata prefers a sunny spot in the garden. It fares equally well in summer and winter rainfall areas. Prune this adaptable plant whenever necessary to keep it neat. If you want to harvest seed for propagation purposes, don't cut off the old flowerheads. It tolerates temperatures ranging from about -2°C to 37°C.

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