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



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

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


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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Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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

easy to navigate
articles are very informative


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

Lots of useful information.


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


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.


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 ar... read more


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.


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.