Last updated on 09/25/2006
An image of Haemanthus montanus in the wild. This particular form if from the Bedford Area in South Africa. There are green and glaucous leaf forms of this beautiful Amaryllid. The flower colour is white fading to pink with age.
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and welcome to the south African Amaryllid pages. This collection of pages is
dedicated to these wonderful Amaryllidaceous bulbous plants found in this
country. Many Amaryllid species are under threat from extended farming
practices, urbanization, dam building and collectors. Mainly Amaryllids
Garden recognises this threat with an effort to conserve and disseminate many of the Amaryllid species
that will grow in our area.
While it is recognized that the botanist and taxonomist, in most cases, do indeed classify the bulb, it is generally the enthusiast that does most of the conserving in plants. This can be found the world over as many Amaryllid collections exist in many countries, and some of these collection are quite extensive!
Images on Amaryllids
of Southern Africa
Cultivating these wonderful bulbs, I can't help feel some sort of affinity with the South Africa. I would dearly love to visit the country and plan to one day. For now, I am busy cultivating as many of these beautiful bulbs as possible because time is running out! The faster we get to and grow these botanical treasures, the more that will be saved from extinction. I hope that you get the Amaryllid bug and join in too, they really are fascinating bulbs to grow and care for.
A disk of images and cultivation information called 'Wild Bulbs of the Eastern Cape' is available from Cameron McMaster. This disk is a highly informative and extremely pictorial collection, captured by Cameron whilst collecting seeds out in the field. Cameron McMaster is one of South Africa's most noted naturalists, whose enthusiasm shines through on this information available. His love of the plants and the surrounding environment resounds through this disk. I consider myself very lucky to have a friendship with such a dedicated and personable gentleman. The following are excerpts from the 'Wild Bulbs of the Eastern Cape' disk, just enough to whet your appetite. The disk can be purchased for AU$75.00 (Included postage) here. Simply include 'Wild Bulbs of the Eastern Cape' disk in the 'subject' heading. Order Wild Bulbs of the Eastern Cape disk
all the bulbous genera, which occur in Southern Africa, are represented in
the Eastern Cape. The region
is particularly rich in Amaryllidaceae, some species being endemic.
Both Clivia miniata and Clivia nobilis from the
coastal regions have become exceedingly scarce as a result of poaching
from wild populations. The
ubiquitous Boophone disticha has flowering times of different
populations varying from August to November. A particularly robust form
with long straight leaves occurs in the Kei River Valley.
The bulb scales are extensively used by the Xhosa people to treat
circumcision wounds and are consequently heavily exploited.
Brunsvigia is represented by two species – B. gregaria and
B. grandiflora. Both
are widespread, occurring from the coast to the high mountains. B.
gregaria varies from pale pink in the eastern and southern populations
to bright scarlet in the drier regions of the Karoo. Inland populations
flower in February, while those near the coast flower as late as
mid-April. Because of its
upright leaves, B. grandiflora has been severely affected by
grazing livestock. This
magnificent plant is now confined to small areas where livestock has been
excluded by fences i.e. road reserves and areas adjacent to arable land.
most widespread and common Amaryllid is the beautiful Ammocharis
coranica. It is
stimulated to flower by fire and spectacular stands of blooms occur soon
after early spring burns. Like
B. gregaria, westerly populations are darker in colour.
Although extremely rare, pure white specimens of both B.
gregaria and A. coranica do occur in the wild. Scadoxus
puniceus is also widely distributed, ranging from lowland acacia veldt
to the summits of the high mountains.
It flowers in spring and is always confined to shady, sheltered
spots under trees and bushes or between boulders.
region is particularly rich in Cyrtanthus species, some endemic to the
region and some as yet undescribed. Dyer
(1939) states that with the concentration of species in the Eastern Cape,
it may be regarded as the headquarters of the genus.
Most species put out their flowers before their leaves, but some
are evergreen. The most
widespread is C. contractus, which
extends from inland areas of the Eastern Cape northwards.
It seems to have no preference as to habitat, occurring
sporadically in open grassland where it flowers in October, or earlier if
stimulated by fire, its brilliant red umbels being most conspicuous in its
usually drab surroundings.
is a genus which is very well represented in the Eastern Cape. Most
species make excellent garden subjects and require little effort to grow.
Nerine masonorum, which occurs in the area formerly known as
the Transkei, is the smallest of the group.
It has tiny compact flower heads and fine filiform leaves.
It is the earliest to flower, from late January.
Bulbs multiply profusely. N.
gibsonii occurs in the highlands of the Transkei between Lady Frere
and Cala. Its habitat is
severely degraded and, as it is confined to such a small area, it is
possibly doomed to extinction. It
is remarkable in that the colour of this species in the wild varies from
pure white to purple with all the shades of pink in between, with no one
colour dominant. Leaves are filiform, fairly robust, both leaves and flowers
being of a similar shape and size to N. angulata.
review of the Haemanthus in the Eastern Cape will complete this brief
overview of East Cape Amaryllidaceae.
At least five species of this fascinating genus with many
varieties, occur here,. The
most widespread is H. albiflos which is amazingly adaptive and
versatile in its habitat. It
is a particularly desirable and easy to grow garden subject and is also
suitable as a ground cover in areas of semi-shade.
It is equally at home in deep shade on forest floors, on rocky sea
shores exposed to salt spray, in coastal dune forest, on cliff faces in
hot river valleys where it clings in large clumps to crevasses in full
sun, and in shady places on high altitude inland mountain ranges.
It is evergreen and multiplies vegetatively, as well as from seed. The attractive white flowers appear in May and the ripe seeds
are carried in equally attractive clusters of scarlet fruit.
An interesting dwarf form with oval leaves occurs as single
individual plants on bush clad hillsides in the Keiskama River valley.
Growing Indigenous Bulbs in the Eastern Cape
and Cameron McMaster
The Eastern Cape as a repository
The Border region of the Eastern
Cape is so named because it was historically the border between the Cape
Colony and the traditional homelands of the Xhosa tribes.
It lies between the Great Fish and Great Kei Rivers comprising the
former Ciskei homeland and the area south of the Great Winterberg range
from East London to Queenstown. It
is a region of exceptional natural beauty but because it is off the
popular tourist routes, its botanical richness and diversity are not as
well known as regions such as the Western Cape and Namaqualand.
The purpose of this paper is to highlight the floral wealth of this
region, the threats to the survival of rare species and the role of
propagation for preservation.
situated at the convergence of major African Plant Kingdoms, namely the
Afro-montane, Sub-tropical Maputoland-Pondoland, African-Namib, and the
Cape Fynbos, the flora is influenced by elements of each region, giving
rise to very high biodiversity with a large number of endemic species. The
province contains a vast variety of landscapes, from the stark Karoo (the
semi-desert region of the central interior) to mountain ranges with lush
grassland and forest and gentle green hills rolling down to the sea.
The climate and topography give rise to the great diversity of
vegetation types and habitats in the region.
|I would like to acknowledge Cameron McMaster from African Bulbs in Napier, RSA, for use of the images and kind assistance with information for this site.|
Content and Images on these web pages are the property ofMainly Amaryllids Garden © Copyright.
All images and information supplied from the disk 'Wild Bulbs of the Eastern Cape', remain the property of Cameron McMaster © Copyright.
Reference = (Duncan/DuPleiss, Bulbous plants of Southern Africa)