Bleeding heart tree

Bleeding heart tree

Homolanthus populifolius

Common Name:

Bleeding heart tree

Scientific Name:

Homolanthus populifolius


Alternative common names:

Gebrokehartjieboom (Afrikaans), Queensland poplar.

Description:

The bleeding heart tree is a small bushy shrub or tree reaching 6m. The trunk is pale grey to brown and smooth. The flowers are yellow-green to red, small, in terminal spikes 60-100mm long. Fruit is a green, two-lobed capsule, up to 10mm long with a yellow, oily aril. The leaves are poisonous to cattle and it contains latex, which can cause skin irritations.

Additional Information


Where does this species come from?

Australia.

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 1b.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Western Cape.

How does it spread?

The seeds are dispersed by birds.

Why is it a problem?

It shades out indigenous plants. The leaves are poisonous to cattle and it contains latex, which can cause skin irritations. It is also a fire hazard and blocks drains.

What does it look like?

Leaves: The leaves are heart-shaped and very large, ranging from 3-15cm long and 3-12cm wide. They turn bright red before falling from the tree.

Flowers: Flowers are yellow-green to red, 2-10cm long, appearing on racemes usually from September-December

Fruit/seeds: The fruit matures from December-March and is a two-lobed capsule with an oily, yellow aril. The seeds germinate quickly when exposed to direct sunlight.

Does the plant have any uses?

Used as an ornamental plant and the bark and root bark is used for medicine.

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