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A picture of a Karoo Boer-Bean

Karoo Boer-Bean

Schotia afra var. afra

Also known as

Small Boer-Bean, Karoohuilboerboon, Karoo-Boerboon, Kleinboerboontjie, Boonenboom (Afr.)

Photo by frances (All rights reserved)

Full Sun
Easy care
Light watering


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

Karoo Boer-Bean Overview

This perennial tree-shrub can be used as a shade tree in the garden or a beautiful ornamental feature. The scarlet red flowers attract sunbirds which feed off the nectar. The seeds are edible and are usually prepared by being roasted and ground. This plant may sometimes be referred to as "Hottentot", an offensive term that was historically used to refer to the Khoikhoi, a member of a group of indigenous peoples of South Africa and Namibia. We do not support the usage of such a term. ZA Distribution: Eastern Cape, Western Cape.

Common problems with Karoo Boer-Bean

Aphids or greenflies may attack the leaves. Spray with an approved aphicide or dishwashing liquid (10 mL in 5 L of water) once a week to break the insect's life cycle.

How to harvest Karoo Boer-Bean

Collect seeds in winter from browned seedpods which are scattered around the trees.

How to propagate Karoo Boer-Bean


Sow seeds during late spring in seed trays with moist, loamy soil. Keep in shaded area. Water well once a week. Germination should take place within 7 days.

Special features of Karoo Boer-Bean

Attracts birds

The nectar that is produced by the flowers attracts birds like Lesser Double Collared Sunbirds and Malachite Sunbirds.

Drought resistant

Can survive for extended periods with little watering.

Attracts useful insects

Host to certain butterflies (Deudorix antalis lays its eggs in the trees).

Other uses of Karoo Boer-Bean


The seeds are edible and can be eaten when roasted and ground.

Other uses


Legumes | Fynbos

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