bottle brush bloom South Africa
Flowers, South Africa

Awesome Blossom: Marvelous South African Blooms

Spring is in the air here in Jo’burg.  You can tell by the awesome blossom that is beginning to bloom. I’ve previously written about the phenomenal bird life in South Africa, but the annual techni-coloured flower show we are treated to is also stellar.

After two years in South Africa I can reliably identify Jacaranda, Bottlebrush, Red Hot Poker, Bird of Paradise and Agapanthus.

I’ve found photos of most of them, (one of the perks of walking the Cheese Thief is the fact that I have time to stop and notice these things).  For Jacaranda photos, check out this post where there are pictures of both purple and also white jacaranda blossoms in Johannesburg and Pretoria. The jacarandas warranted a separate post all to themselves and while writing it struck me that Jacarandas and expats actually have a few things in common.

Beautiful Mystery Tree

But what-oh-what is the flame topped beauty of a tree I saw yesterday?  Is it a flame tree, also known as a coral tree?  Please help.  It’s so pretty and I’m dying to know what it is.

Coral Tree also known as Lucky Bean Tree or the Latin name is Erythrina lysistemon

Easily Recognisable Blooms of South Africa

Bird of paradise flower, South Africa

Red Hot Poker
Red Hot Poker
Pretty Flower
Unidentified pretty flower. Help – what is it please?

The only way I could remember the name of the Agapanthus was by inventing a nemonic – Agatha’s Pants are Blooming Marvelous.  They are blooming marvellous aren’t they?

purple agapanthus flower

bottle brush bloom South Africa

Bottle Brush

It’s a bit of a chicken and the egg story with the bottle brush tree.  Did the shape of the blooms inspire the invention of the bottle brush and therefore invent a name for the tree?  Or…did the tree have some other name or no name and was renamed in modern times after the bottle brush was invented?  Who knows?  Do you know?

Which beautiful blooms are missing from this list? What else should I be looking out for when out and about in Johannesburg?

6 thoughts on “Awesome Blossom: Marvelous South African Blooms”

  1. Yes, you are correct that is the beautiful Coral Tree! It is also known as a Lucky Bean Tree (which is what we call it). The seeds are so pretty although toxic. We brought seeds with us from Zimbabwe when we emigrated. Our tree is about 10meters tall and covered in red blossoms! The Latin name is Erythrina lysistemon. The pretty flower that you pictured is a Zinya (apparently a mix between sunflower and daisy)


    1. I love the name Lucky Bean Tree, it sounds quite magical. Thank you Zimbo (sorry, that’s probably not your actual name)?! I’ve just googled it and apparently it’s a member of the pea family. Zinya is also a pretty name for a flower. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for more unidentified awesome blossom over the coming weeks.


  2. Incidentally, a Lucky Bean is not the same as a flame tree although the blooms are a similar color. Flame trees don’t seem to be as common in Joburg — I think maybe it’s not quite hot enough for them.


    1. Thanks so much for the clarification 2summers. I will be sure not to get my Lucky Beans confused with my Flame Trees in future. Googling both now to compare pictures and see if I can spot the difference. 🙂 Cheers.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know if you have seen the Syringa tree has started flowering! You may notice the tiny white and purple flowers but you will definitely be able to smell their sweet perfume after the rain or in the evenings after a warm day! The heady jasmine like scent can be very strong! The Syringa tree is not an indigenous South African tree and is classed as invasive.


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