Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Mickey Mouse Plant, Bird's Eye Bush
Ochna serrulata

Family: Ochnaceae
Genus: Ochna (OK-nah) (Info)
Species: serrulata (ser-yoo-LAY-tuh) (Info)

Synonym:Ochna multiflora
Synonym:Ochna atropurpurea
Synonym:Ochna mossambicensis

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

11 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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to view:

By IslandJim
Thumbnail #1 of Ochna serrulata by IslandJim

By MotherNature4
Thumbnail #2 of Ochna serrulata by MotherNature4

By MotherNature4
Thumbnail #3 of Ochna serrulata by MotherNature4

By babalu
Thumbnail #4 of Ochna serrulata by babalu

By MotherNature4
Thumbnail #5 of Ochna serrulata by MotherNature4

By Lily_love
Thumbnail #6 of Ochna serrulata by Lily_love

By Lily_love
Thumbnail #7 of Ochna serrulata by Lily_love

There are a total of 21 photos.
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6 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative CGTS On Jan 13, 2014, CGTS from Brisbane
Australia wrote:

I am a resident of The Gap, Brisbane, Qld, Australia and was shocked to see Ochna as plant of the week. It is extremely invasive by virtue of seed distribution from birds. I live on acreage adjacent to the Brisbane state forest and it took me more than two years to remove the dense and tough to remove plants/small trees. I agree they are a fine specimen but they are a class 3 weed in our state and are taking over the low growth level of our rain forests smothering the natural habitat.

Positive roger_o On Feb 25, 2013, roger_o from Pearl City, HI wrote:

easy to navigate
articles are very informative

Positive BigBrian On Feb 11, 2013, BigBrian from Oakland, CA wrote:

Lots of useful information.

Positive thandidarling On Aug 29, 2011, thandidarling from Cape Town
South Africa wrote:

This lovely Ochna serrulata is one of our indigenous shrubs It's early spring foliage is beautiful--pinkish bronze,turning to glossy green later. It comes from the east of South Africa, and is a good"bird" shrub. It likes fairly moist soil and throws lots of babies--lovely gifts for friends, as it can do well in tubs.Needs light pruning when young to achieve a good shape
A root decoction is traditionally used by the Zulus to treat children with bone diseases

Positive Lily_love On Jun 22, 2009, Lily_love from Central, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

A fun plant to collect -- provide almost all seasons' interest. I keep the plant in pot and bring it indoor in late Fall, returned the plant to outdoor environment in early Spring. The seeds- 1st appear greenish, then turn jet black when ripe and sepals first were green then turned scarlet red -- during the summer (before birds discover them) are almost more fun to watch than the bright yellow flowers appeared in late Winter, early Spring.

Positive MotherNature4 On Sep 23, 2005, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

It is true that this plant could become invasive in central Florida, I always have people asking me for them. They are not difficult to pull up out of flower beds if you don't want them.

The flowers are about 1" in diameter with many stamens. I'm sending in a photo of the flowers for you to see. The new leaves emerge along with the flowers about the end of February or first half of March. When the petals fall, the green sepals begin to turn red and turn back, looking almost like red flower petals. The seeds develop at the same time. Green at first, they then turn black. You must collect them as soon as they turn black, otherwise the mockingbirds and catbirds will beat you to them. New plants start by themselves in my yard, but they have never become a pest. They are very showy during the time of inflorescence.

Positive rwsherlock On Sep 22, 2005, rwsherlock from North Port, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

A slow growing plant in North Port, Florida. Had a hard time propagating this plant. I finally placed a net plastic bag around the end of flowered branches just after the seeds formed. This kept the birds and squirrels from eating the seed. After the seeds turned completely black and started to drop off the branches, I placed all seeds in a germination seed mix and just covered. I had close to 100% germination yield. I then transplanted seedlings to separate pots after second set of leaves developed.

Neutral Muzikatz02 On Jan 3, 2004, Muzikatz02 from Johannesburg
South Africa wrote:

Have just bought a "Mickey Mouse Plant" today here in Durban and will take it home with me to Johannesburg when my holiday is over. Am worried about the frost in Johannesburg this coming winter. Also the dry cold we are subjected to there every winter. Let's wait and see.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Encinitas, California
Fremont, California
Monrovia, California
Oakland, California
Redondo Beach, California
Sacramento, California
Bartow, Florida
North Port, Florida
Venice, Florida
Pearl City, Hawaii
Marrero, Louisiana
Vieques, Puerto Rico
Austin, Texas
Freeport, Texas

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