Hypocalyptus sophoroides is a graceful shrub producing lots of color in spring along with a beautiful sweet fragrance. Immature soft stems are light green, turning red-brown on maturing. Grey-green leaves grow in threes along the stem. Flowers are bright magenta pink with yellow nectar guides. They are densely clustered in a pyramid shape along the tips of branches with 30 or more individual flowers per stem. They have a beautiful sweet fragrance, reminiscent of icecream.
Hypo- is a Greek word meaning 'beneath' and -calyptus originates from the Greek term ' kalypto ' meaning 'covered'. Sophoroides means resembling the genus Sophora , a name derived from the Arabic ' sophera', a 'pea-flowered tree'.
Hypocalyptus contains three species, namely H. sophoroides, H. coluteoides and H. oxalidifolius. They are all found in the southern Western Cape.
The sweet fragrance and bright yellow nectar guides are produced to lure insects to pollinate flowers. Yellow is the most attractive color for pollinating insects as it is a promise of food.
It has huge horticultural potential as a showy landscape plant.