Common names: burn jelly plant, stalked bulbine, snake flower, cat's tail
This is a popular, waterwise garden plant, especially when planted en masse as a ground cover, or in rock gardens. It is often cultivated for its medicinal properties.
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The brightly coloured, yellow flowers are attractive for bees.
The fresh leaves produce a jelly-like juice that is wonderful for burns, rashes, blisters, insect bites, cracked lips, acne, cold sores, mouth ulcers and areas of cracked skin. This plant is easy to grow and is a useful first-aid remedy for childrens' daily knocks and scrapes.
Traditionally the leaves have been used to make an infusion in a cup of boiling water. The strained drink was taken for coughs, colds and arthritis. However we have not tried it internally at KoruKai Herb Farm, but go for it on a regular basis for insect bites, stings and burns.
Bulbine frutescens is often used in landscaping where a drought-resistant, tough groundcover is required.
It is an easy-to-grow waterwise groundcover which, with the minimum of care, will look good all year round. It combines beautifully with blue dwarf agapanthus, flowering at the same time.
This succulent perennial multiplies rapidly. Prune it when untidy. For best results it should be planted in well-drained soil preferably enriched with compost. The dead flower heads should be removed to encourage further flowering. These plants prefer full sun, but they will also grow in semi-shade for part of the day. Although it will grow indoors, it requires maximum light.
Burn jelly plant thirving in a sunny, dry rock garden at KoruKai Herb Farm, Banks Peninsula, New Zealand.