Amaryllids of Southern Africa


Rhoda McMaster in a field of Crinum campanulatum - Image from 'East Cape Bulbs' Disk



The genus Crinum is a very large genus and very widely distributed to many parts of the world including America, Asia and Africa.   Here in Australia, enthusiasts are just waking up to the horticultural and floral potential of this genus. Some of the most spectacular flowers in bulbs can be found in the genus Crinum. Considering that many species have numerous flower spike per year, makes them excellent candidates for cut flower production.

More than half the species occur in Southern Africa. Growing Crinum has taught me a great deal about cultivation, as many of these species require specific cultivation. I urge the Crinum grower to study up on cultivation requirements for better, healthier bulbs and blooms.  

In the open garden, growing in heavy clay/sandy based loam and a straw compost over the top has been successful for the following : C. bulbispermum, C. macowanii, C. moorei, C. variable, C. buphanoides, C. lugardiae and Australian types of Crinum flaccidum.  

In deep clay/sandy mediums I am growing, C. graminicola, C. minimum. These have a winter dry, although they still receive winter rains..

In water inundated areas I have  C. paludosum growing and blooming quite well. (These bulbs are dried out during the cooler months)  

There are many learned Crinum growers around the globe, from which good cultural information can be gleaned. The above notes are very brief. Proper undertaking of studying Crinum cultivation is what is needed to secure rewarding results. If you have any cultivation notes yourself, please e-mail me.  

Happy Crinum growing,  


Crinum graminicola - Image from 'East Cape Bulbs' Disk


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.

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Excerpt From  the 'Wild Bulbs of the Eastern Cape' Disk Available.



Cameron McMaster, The Croft, Stutterheim. 

Crinum campanulatum is endemic to the Eastern Cape, occurring in widely scattered seasonal pans or vleis between Bathurst and East London and as far inland as Peddie.  Its dependence upon seasonal standing water to flower means that the reproductive cycle of this crinum is opportunistic and is completed only if and when sufficient rains fall to fill the vleis.  During most of the summer and all winter, the vleis are dry and heavily grazed by livestock, and there is little visible trace of the plants.    If sufficient rain falls to fill the vleis to a depth of 30 50cm, the plants are protected against livestock, which are reluctant to enter the water, and within a few weeks successful flowering and seed production is achieved.  The bulbs are rooted very deeply in the mud of the vleis often 20cm and more deep.  This affords them protection through the periods when the vleis are dry and also prevents them from being uprooted by grazing livestock.....

Crinum campanulatum - Image from 'East Cape Bulbs' Disk



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