The ornamental Ochna serrulata, better known as the Carnival bush, is indigenous to South Africa. Delightful all year round, this small tree attracts birds and insects while displaying pretty flowers, colourful foliage and interesting fruit.
Growing to a height of 1 to 2 m, occasionally higher, Ochna serrulata is evergreen. Young, spring foliage often has a bronze tinge or light green colour, maturing into a darker, glossy green. Fragrant, yellow flowers appear for a short time during spring providing a bright splash of colour in the garden. After the petals are shed, the sepals and base of the flowers turn bright red and a ring of up to six shiny, oval fruits develop on the base of the flower. The fruit matures from green to glossy black, giving the alternative name of ‘Mickey Mouse’ bush as the black and red colours contrast sharply.
Slow growing until established, the Carnival bush can tolerate light frost and occasional periods of drought. It can be utilized as a hedge plant, an understorey specimen and does well in a container or as a bonsai subject.