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German wasp | Vespula germanica

German wasp

Vespula germanica

Coral bush | Ardisia crenata

Coral bush

Ardisia crenata

Purple loosestrife | Lythrum salicaria

Purple loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria

Pom pom weed | Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Pom pom weed

Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Canarybird bush | Crotalaria agatiflora

Canarybird bush

Crotalaria agatiflora

Peanut butter cassia | Senna didymobotrya

Peanut butter cassia

Senna didymobotrya

Rubber vine | Cryptostegia grandiflora

Rubber vine

Cryptostegia grandiflora

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Environmental Programmes

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Canarybird bush

Crotalaria agatiflora

Common name:

Canary bird bush

Scientific name:

Crotalaria agatiflora

Alternative common names:

Birdflower, bird flower, bird-flower, canary bird-bush, Queensland birdflower, rattlebox (English); voëltjiebos (Afrikaans)

Canary bird bush is an evergreen shrub characterised by flowers that look like a family of canaries perching on a branch. The yellow-green flowers bloom on flower stalks in the summer through autumn. The soft green leaves grow on branches that can get leggy with age, otherwise this plant can sprawl to 6m tall and wide.

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    Native to tropical East Africa and north-east Africa (Tanzania and Kenya).

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    NEM:BA Category 1b

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    In South Africa it is present in Gauteng, North West, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

    How does it spread?

    It reproduces mainly by seeds which become loose in the pod as they mature. When flowers fade seed pods form. As the seeds within mature they separate from the pod walls and rattle giving canary bird bush its other common name of rattlebox.

    Why is it a problem?

    It threatens watercourses in grassland and savanna biomes and is potentially invasive on forest margins and also occupying cleared grassy areas.

    What does it look like?

    Leaves: Its leaves are greyish-green, 3-foliolate; leaflets on a short stalk (petiole), petiole mostly longer than leaflets, glabrous to densely hairy. Flowers: Flowers are lemon-yellow or greenish-yellow, with a projecting greenish or purple beak. Flowering is from spring to autumn. Fruit/seeds: Fruits greenish-purple pods, inflated, to 100mm long, seeds loose in dry pod and rattle when the pod is shaken.

    Does the plant have any uses?

    It is grown in gardens as an ornamental shrub.

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General News Updates

2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasio…


This is your invitation to South Africa's 2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasions. The convention is hosted by the Centre for Invasion Biology (CIB), University of Stellenbosch, and the Biolo... Read more

2019 Invasive Species Training


During the past five years (2014-2018), ISSA invasive species trainers have trained 4 000 in the identification of invasive species and laws pertaining to invasive species across South Africa.  ... Read more

Alien Grass Working Group


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Permits for planting indigenous Cynodon?


On 16 February, 2018, South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs issued amendments to the regulations and lists relating to the National List of Invasive Species.  Updates to the draft&n... Read more

Invasive species training 2018 dates released


Interested in invasive species?  How much do you know about NEMBA invasive species compliance for landowners and organs of state? The South African Green Industries Council (SAGIC) have released... Read more

Communications post for Africa advertised


The Nature Conservancy has advertised a brand new post:  Communications Manager, Africa Region. Knowledge of invasive species and water would be an asset in this post. See details below:    Job Titl... Read more