Cancer Bush (Sutherlandia frutescens), packet of 20 seeds


Family:  Legume (Fabaceae)

Hardy to Zones 10 to 12

(Kankerbos, Syn. Lessertia frutescens)  Woody perennial native to South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. Luckily for us who live in the temperate north, this plant does reasonably well in containerized culture and tends to not get too big.  In the wild, the plant can become quite woody and reaches a height of 3 feet.  With its loose sprays of compound, gray-green leaves and large, showy, bright scarlet flowers followed by bladder-like inflated seedpods, Cancer Bush is in high demand as a horticultural oddity and decorative garden plant. Traditional use (Khoi and Nama peoples of South Africa): bitter tonic, colds, influenza, chicken pocks, diabetes, varicosities, piles, inflammations, liver issues, backache and rheumatism.  Cancer.  Source of canavanine. Plant prefers full sun and dry to mesic, very well-drained soils.  We use Cactus mix.  This is a plant of the full sun, and will do best when given a sunny, warm exposure, protected from dew and puddling water.  The plant is quite drought tolerant–when in doubt, don’t water. Thoroughly scarify each seed by rubbing on medium grit sandpaper, then sow in warm soil.  Barely cover and keep barely moist and in the light.  Germ in 10 to 30 days, and ongoing.  Individuate seedlings and pot up singly, then transplant outdoors (if you live in a suitable area, that is) to a spacing of 2 to 3 feet apart.

20 seeds/pkt., Open Pollinated

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