What is the plant
Ochna serrulata is an ornamental garden plant in the family Ochnaceae which is indigenous to South Africa. It is planted in southern African gardens and is an invasive species in Australia and New Zealand.
Ochna serrulata, commonly known as Mickey Mouse plant or carnival bush, is a small, loose, open, semi-evergreen shrub which typically grows to 4-8’ tall and 3-4’ wide. It is native to the eastern provinces of South Africa where it occurs in a number of different habitats including forest margins, forested areas, open rocky slopes and grassland. Glossy green, narrow-elliptic leaves (to 2 1/2” long) have serrated margins. Fragrant 5-petaled yellow flowers with numerous yellow center stamens bloom on short lateral branches from spring to early summer. Yellow flower petals drop very quickly after which the floral receptacle and 5 sepals become swollen and turn bright red. By early summer, the shrub appears to be covered with red flowers instead of red sepals. Genus name comes from the Greek ochne meaning wild pear in reference to the fruit shape. Specific epithet from Latin serratus meaning saw-toothed in reference to the leaf margins.
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