Erythrina zeyheri

Erythrina zeyheri

Common Names

ploegbreker (afrikaans)
harrow-breaker, plough-breaker (english)
khungoana, motumo (sesotho)
umnsinsana (zulu)


Genus Erythrina
Species zeyheri
SA Plant Number
Basionym Erythrina zeyheri


Erythrina zeyheri is a very hardy, deciduous underground tree that appears to be a shrub above ground. Their common name is very appropriate as they have a huge rootstock underground. The large, light green leaves have three leaflets that are covered in rough hairs and short, sharp, recurved spines.

From October to January it produces spikes of brilliant scarlet, tubular flowers, which are followed by black seed pods that contain a few red seeds.

Early settlers used the root to treat asthma. Makes a striking container plant (for a large container to accommodate the expansive rootstock). A lovely and unusual addition to a Highveld grassy garden.

Plant in full sun in well drained soil.

Size: 30 t0 60m above ground


Nectar rich flowers:

The nectar rich flowers are visited by Sunbirds and many pollinating insects.



Early colonists / settlers believed that smoking the root would relieve asthma.


A beautiful container plant and also addition to a grassland garden.


Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, North West, Northern Cape


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