Fragrance and Ferraria

Mary Sue Ittner
Wed, 24 Dec 2003 08:28:58 PST
Dear All,

My garden is full of Freesia alba and for a long time each spring it is 
absolutely wonderful to be out in the garden because it is so fragrant. A 
lot of Babianas have a wonderful fragrance although you need to get very 
close to smell them. And there are some Gladiolus that both times we were 
in South Africa we could smell before we could see and were reluctant to 
leave behind since they smelled so good (G. virescens and G. watermeyeri.) 
These are similar in color and shape with different degrees of hoodedness 
so perhaps there is some significance to that.…

Gladiolus uysiae pictured there is supposed to be fragrant too (and looks 
like G. virescens), but I don't remember smelling it. On the other hand G. 
tristis is often mentioned as fragrant (in the evening) and the ones I have 
smelled have not had much fragrance, but it could be I just can't smell them.

Hesperantha cucullata is nicely fragrant as it gets dark, but if you bring 
it in a warm lighted room the fragrance diminishes.

As for Ferraria, the Ferraria I have grown for years as Ferraria uncinata 
(from IBS seed) that I have donated corms and seeds to various groups 
Julian Slade thinks is something else, maybe F. crispa. Ferraria crispa is 
known for its unpleasant smell, but the Ferraria crispa I grow that was 
once considered a subspecies (F. crispa nortierii) has no smell that I can 
Maybe it is wrongly identified as well. I find the Ferraria key a 
challenge, but the plant pictured blooms reliably for me and I am fond of it.

But to get back to my Ferraria uncinata, probably not, it smells like 
vanilla to me. The flower is wonderfully weird and it blooms a long time, 
but is definitely thug like in a raised bed so I have planted it in the 
ground where it is doing fine. I love the way it smells and others who have 
stuck their nose down there have never complained. So I am puzzled about 
this. Jane has banished it for the smell. Keys never list smells. Here is a 
picture of it:…
So if you have seed or corms from me perhaps you need to put a question 
mark next to it.

We saw a Ferraria in the Karoo Desert NBG on our trip that Julian thinks is 
the real F. uncinata. I can't remember it smelling at all, but I didn't get 
close to it. Our slides don't show it quite as blue as the digital camera 
picture shows it.…

Merry Christmas to everyone.

Mary Sue

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