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Melianthus major

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Question from Sandy Rawlins


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I ahve just bought a melianthus major (honey bush). It sounded just the right architectural plant for a large sun-blessed space at the bottom of my long garden.

I have read somewhere that its foliage is 'toxic' and am worried as I am a cat lover and don't want my feline friends to come to any harm.

Any advice would be welcome.

  • Views: 1878
  • Replies: 5
  • Posted: Tue. 2nd February 2010 20:14

Melianthus Major

Reply from Katy Elton

Hi Sandy,

I've never heard of melianthus major posing any danger to cats, and can't find any evidence stating otherwise, so wouldn't worry too much.

You're right, the plant is poisonous if ingested, however it's highly unlikely any cats will be tempted to eat this - the sources I've consulted state that they would only do so in the absence of any other food source.

So keep the cats well fed, relax, and enjoy your new plant!

If you need any tips on growing or caring for it let us know.

Hope this helps.


  • Posted: Thu. 4th February 2010 14:20

Melianthus major

Reply from Sandy Rawlins

Thank you. I am a little worried as my moggy will not eat grass at all, but seems to enjoy nibbling away at other foliage, especially the verbena boniarensis and sisyrinchium striatum. I've got some other plants described as 'toxic', such as monkshood, which she seems to leave alone. Fingers crossed then!

  • Posted: Thu. 4th February 2010 17:23

Re: Melianthus major

Reply from Anita Sullivan

Off the track here a bit, but... my dogs also snack on verbena boniarensis. They eat it medicinally as an astingent, to aid digestion (after two many rich treats!). So beneficial!

  • Posted: Sun. 18th August 2013 09:38

Melianthus major

Reply from Marissa Zoppellini

Hi Sandy, the root of this plant is poisonous, however it is used as a remedy for snake bites!! I love the peanut butter smell of the foliage in summer and its lovely grey-green leaves are very striking. Hope it (and your cats) thrive. All the best, Marissa

  • Posted: Thu. 4th February 2010 21:52

Melianthus major

Reply from Sandy Rawlins

Thanks Melissa

  • Posted: Fri. 5th February 2010 14:54