Ehretia rigida

Ehretia rigida


Common Names

Puzzle Bush (english)
Deurmekaarbos (afrikaans)
mutepe (venda)
morôbê (tswana)
umklele (zulu)
umbotshane (xhosa)
moroba (sesotho)


Genus Ehretia
Species rigida
SA Plant Number 657
Basionym Ehretia rigida


Ehretia rigida is a very hardy, deciduous, drought resistant, attractive shrub with an interesting shape.

This is formed by its tangled downwards pointing, gracefully arching branchlets and also gives its common name Puzzle bush.

The grey-green leaves are clustered on short side branches. The tender green leaves borne in late winter bear the promise of warmer more abundant times to com.

It bears masses of small, sweet smelling lilac / white flowers in dense clusters from July to November.

These are followed by masses of orange berries that, not only look beautiful, but are a favourite with fruit eating birds.

This extremely hardy plant is a great survivor and a decorative addition to any garden for sun or semi-shade positions.

It can be used in an informal hedge, as a security barrier, as a feature or form plant and is an important element of bush clumps.

It has many traditional uses and is a powerful hunting charm as well as being used for rainmaking.

Size 2 to 5m


Nectar and pollen rich flowers:

Nectar and pollen rich flowers attract a host of butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects. These in turn attract many insectivorous birds

Fruit for Birds:

The fleshy orange fruit is a favourite amongst frugivorous birds.



A very hardy plant that can add height to a garden. Use as a barrier (dense branching makes it hard to get through), as a form plant with interesting branching patterns or as part of a bushclump planting.

Traditional uses:

This plant is used in traditional charms.


Limpopo, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal, Free State

Natural Habitat:

Widespread in many different types of habitats from forest margins, open woodland, termitaria and coastal and Karoo scrub.


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