Plant Characteristics: Strong scented glabrous shrub to 10 ft. or more, widely creeping roots; lvs.
odd-pinnate, 1 ft. or more long, dull green above, paler beneath; stipules connate into 1 intra-axillary
piece, attached to lower part of petiole, 2 in. or more long; lfts. 9-11, deeply serrate, to 6 in. long,
petiole with cuneate wings between lfts; racemes densely fld, 1 ft. or more long; bracts ovate
acuminate; fls. red-brown, 1 in. long; caps. papery, 1-1.25 in. long, glabrous; disk with nectar-
Habitat: A half dozen S. African shrubs, grown for ornament in warm regions. The species is found
in only one location and this on the bluff about .5 mile northerly of Big Canyon. A nearby soil sample
is fine sand with a few coarser particles and not enough silt to form clods. pH=6.0. Nearby growth
includes Carpobrotus spp, Baccharis spp, Echium candicans and Rhus integrifolia.
Name: Greek, Melian-thus, honey flower. (Bailey 642). Latin, major, larger. (Jaeger 148).
General Information: Rare in the study area with only one plant known and this on an upper bluff
about .5 miles northerly of Big Canyon. The original plant was discovered in 1987, by 1996 when the
next photos were taken, there were several plants covering many times more area than the original
plant. (my comments). The entire plant is toxic, especially the root. It contains toxic
bufadienolides (cardiac glycosides) that produce, in humans and animals, increased salivation,
vomiting, bloody diarrhea, cyanosis of the mucous membranes, rapid weak pulse and extreme
exhaustion. The plants are extremely toxic, requiring only a small amount to produce poisoning. The
plant has black nectar and is attractive to bees. The honey is quite black and is considered toxic.
(Fuller 192, 193). African trees or shrubs, of 3 genera and about 20 species. (Bailey 642).
Text Ref: Bailey 642.
Photo Ref: March-April 87 # 20; Jan-Mar 96 # 14,15; May 96 # 5A.
Identity: by John Johnson.
First Found: April 1987. Lat. 33° 38’ 14.5” N; Long. 117° 53’ 11.2” W. Bluff, .5 miles northerly Big Canyon.
Computer Ref: Plant Data 354.
Plant Specimen: Donated to UCR November 2007.
Last Edit: 10/14/10.
VASCULAR PLANTS OF UPPER NEWPORT BAY