African Rosemary Eriocephalus africanus

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
kapok bush


Eriocephalus africanus, commonly known as the African Rosemary, is a shrub that boasts a bushy, rounded appearance. This plant is characterized by its fine, needle-like leaves that mimic the look of rosemary, an herb with which it is often associated due to its similar fragrance. The leaves are typically a rich, silvery-green hue, which contributes to the plant's overall soft and textured visual. The African Rosemary produces small, white flower clusters that give way to fluffy, cotton-like seed heads. These flowers are often found nestled within the foliage and can add a delicate visual contrast to the plant's leafy backdrop. The blooms are most prolific in its natural blooming season, contributing to the plant's aesthetic appeal. The African Rosemary emanates a pleasant aroma, which is particularly notable when the leaves are crushed or brushed against, making it a favorite among aromatic herb enthusiasts. Its visual and olfactory qualities make it a popular choice for ornamental gardens.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      African Rosemary, Wild Rosemary, Cape Snow Bush

    • Common names

      Eriocephalus racemosus, Eriocephalus umbellulatus.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant Eriocephalus africanus, commonly known as wild rosemary, is not widely recognized as a poisonous plant to humans. While it is generally considered non-toxic, as with any plant, sensitivity can vary among individuals. Ingesting large amounts could potentially cause stomach upset or allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. However, there is not enough documented evidence to conclusively state the specific symptoms of poisoning for this particular species. Always exercise caution and consult a medical professional if you suspect poisoning from any plant.

    • To pets

      Wild rosemary is not commonly known to be toxic to pets. With limited toxicity information available, it is always best to err on the side of caution and prevent pets from ingesting plants not specifically intended for them. Some pets may experience gastrointestinal upset or an allergic reaction if they consume parts of the Eriocephalus africanus plant. If you suspect your pet has ingested wild rosemary and is showing adverse symptoms, contact your vet immediately.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3 feet (0.91 meters)

    • Spread

      5 feet (1.52 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      South Africa


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Cultural Significance: Eriocephalus africanus, commonly known as African Rosemary, is significant in the cultural practices of some local communities, often used in rituals and celebrations.
    • Landscape Beautification: The plant adds aesthetic value to gardens and landscapes with its silvery foliage and white to pale lilac flowers.
    • Culinary Uses: African Rosemary can be used as a seasoning in cooking, where it imparts a flavor similar to traditional rosemary.
    • Essential Oils: The plant is used in the production of essential oils, which are utilized in perfumery and aromatherapy.
    • Drought Tolerance: It is highly drought-resistant, making it suitable for xeriscaping and arid garden designs.
    • Wildlife Habitat: The flowers offer nectar for bees and butterflies, supporting local biodiversity.
    • Soil Erosion Control: Its growth habit can help stabilize soil and prevent erosion in susceptible areas.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Eriocephalus africanus may possess properties that help reduce inflammation.
    • Antimicrobial: It has been traditionally used for its potential to fight against bacterial and fungal infections.
    • Antispasmodic: The plant may be used to alleviate spasms or muscle cramps.
    • Wound Healing: The essential oil from the plant has traditionally been applied to the skin to assist in healing wounds.
    • Analgesic: It might be used to relieve pain in certain ailments.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Eriocephalus africanus, commonly known as wild rosemary, can be used as an insect repellent when its leaves are burned, producing a fragrance that helps to keep mosquitoes and other pests at bay.
    • The aromatic properties of wild rosemary are utilized in perfumery and cosmetics, especially in creating scents that evoke the natural landscapes of South Africa.
    • Wild rosemary is used in the craft of making traditional herbal pillows which, when slept on, are believed to induce a restful sleep.
    • The fibrous parts of the plant are sometimes used in the creation of small handicrafts and decorations by local artisans.
    • Wild rosemary's strong, pleasant smell makes it a natural choice for potpourri blends in households.
    • It has been used in natural dyeing processes, where the plant material imparts subtle colors to fabrics.
    • Culinary use of wild rosemary includes its infusion into oils and vinegars to add a unique flavor to various dishes.
    • In the past, wild rosemary may have been used as an alternative to traditional rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) in food preservation due to its antibacterial properties.
    • Gardeners cultivate wild rosemary as an ornamental plant, valuing its silver-grey foliage and the texture it adds to landscapes and flower arrangements.
    • The plant's dried stems have been used as small kindling to start fires due to their aromatic nature and ease of ignition.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The African Rosemary is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The African Rosemary is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: Eriocephalus africanus, commonly known as Wild Rosemary, is adapted to thrive in harsh, dry conditions, symbolizing the ability to endure and persist through challenges.
    • Healing: The plant is known for its medicinal properties, particularly in traditional medicine, representing healing and soothing of ailments.
    • Purification: With its strong, clean scent and historical use in cleansing rituals, Wild Rosemary symbolizes purification and the cleansing of one's surroundings.
    • Remembrance: Similar to its European counterpart, Wild Rosemary can symbolize memory and remembrance, often used in ceremonies that honor past events or loved ones.

Every 2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 1-2 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    African Rosemary should be watered deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Generally, this equates to about once a week, but this may vary depending on climate and season. During the hotter months, watering might be needed more often, while in winter, less water is required. It's best to water with about 1 to 2 gallons, depending on the size of the plant and pot, ensuring that the water penetrates deeply but does not leave the plant sitting in water which can lead to root rot.

  • sunLight

    African Rosemary thrives in full sun, making it ideal to place the plant in a location where it can receive at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily. It can tolerate some light shade but performs best when exposed to ample amounts of sunshine.

  • thermometerTemperature

    African Rosemary prefers warmer temperatures and does well in a range from 50°F to 80°F. It's able to survive short periods at slightly lower temperatures but should be protected from frost which can damage the plant. Ideal growing conditions are above 60°F, where the plant can actively grow.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning African Rosemary helps maintain its bushy shape and encourages new growth. Pruning should be done in early spring or after the blooming cycle to shape the plant or to remove any dead or damaged branches. Pruning can be done a few times during the active growing season.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    For African Rosemary, a well-draining soil mix with sand or perlite and loam is best. The soil pH should be slightly acidic to neutral, between 6.0 and 7.5.

  • plantRepotting

    African Rosemary should be repotted every 2-3 years or when it outgrows its current pot to maintain healthy growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    African Rosemary thrives in dry to average humidity levels and does not require high humidity to grow well.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright light, limit watering, use well-draining soil for African Rosemary.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in well-drained soil, full sun, protect from frost for African Rosemary.

    • Hardiness zone

      9-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Eriocephalus africanus, commonly known as Cape Snow Bush, begins its life cycle with seed germination after dispersal, often in spring or early summer when moisture conditions are favorable. The young seedlings establish a root system and develop a rosette of leaves at ground level, slowly transitioning into a woody shrub as they mature. Vegetative growth is prominent in the following seasons, with the plant producing lance-shaped leaves covered in white woolly hairs. Flowering occurs from late summer to winter, showcasing small, white, fluffy flower heads that attract pollinators and subsequently form seeds. Once pollination has occurred, fruits develop which contain seeds, thus completing the reproductive stage. The Cape Snow Bush is a perennial plant and can live for several years, repeatedly going through the cycle of flowering and seed production.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Propogation: The most popular method of propagating Eriocephalus africanus, commonly known as African Rosemary, is through seed sowing. The best time to sow seeds is in the spring as warmer temperatures assist germination. Start by scattering seeds on the surface of a well-draining soil mix, and lightly press them into the substrate. Since African Rosemary seeds need light to germinate, do not cover them with soil. The soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged, with a temperature of around 70°F (21°C). Seedlings usually emerge within 2 to 4 weeks. Once seedlings have grown enough to handle, typically when they have their second set of true leaves, transplant them into individual pots to grow on until they are ready to be planted out in their final positions.