Schizostylis/Hesperantha a confused genus--TOW

Mary Sue Ittner
Thu, 20 Feb 2003 22:36:40 PST
Dear Paul & All,

If you want to get rid of Schizostylis, you just have to create a long 
period of drought. I should think in many parts of Australia that would 
have happened this year. I was happy to read at last there has been rain in 
many areas.

Paul, be sure and look at the corm of Hesperantha falcata when it is 
dormant. You may be growing H. cucullata. There is a lot of seed going 
around that is misnamed. H. falcata corms are triangular to bell-shaped in 
outline, with a horizontal or oblique flat base. H. cucullata corms  are 
supposed to be rounded, more or less asymmetic, often with one side 
slightly flattened. Those descriptions puzzled me for awhile, but all the 
ones I had extended slightly down on one side of the bottom and John 
Manning said they were all cucullata even though I had seed and corms from 
more than one source labeled H. falcata.

I've mentioned this before on other lists, but I ended up with all these 
different varieties of H. cucullata (starting with about 5 different 
species names.) Charles Hardman seed and bulbs of H. pauciflora are really 
H. cucullata. Some are pink on the outside, some brown, and some reddish. 
Most open at dusk and are fragrant then and worthy of being brought in to 
admire as they do their dance (becoming more reflexed as the night goes on) 
and to enjoy their fragrance. We saw some near Nieuwoudtville that opened 
early afternoon and was pinkish on the back. I had seed from Wayne Roderick 
that looks like this one and it is not fragrant. I really like it and when 
we visited Wayne's garden in spring a couple of year's ago it seemed to 
have escaped a bit.

I believe there are Hesperanthas in the Drakensberg that Rod and Rachel 
sometimes offer seed of. Maybe Rachel will comment. Jim Shields should try 
these. They are summer growers. There are a couple of species described as 
mountain species in the field guide to wildflowers Kwazulu-Natal  and the 
Eastern Region that might be hardy.

As long as we are extending the Hesperantha thread a little from 
Schizostylis I have to put in a plug for Hesperantha vaginata that is only 
found in the reserve in Nieuwoudtville in that doleritic clay growing with 
Romulea monadelpha, Bulbinella latifolia var. doleritica, Ixia 
rapunculoides, Androcymbium pulchrum. When we were in August 2001 in the 
morning you couldn't see it since the flowers were closed, but on returning 
in the afternoon it was an awesome sight in yellow and black.

I found an old picture from the past and my wetter garden of Schizostylis 
so I added it with all my other Hesperanthas to the wiki Hesperantha page. 
I have no idea which one it was.…

Thanks for the explanations about dna and how it might sort out the 
different cultivars. I do try to keep track of all the changes, but still 
would prefer as an admirer of flowers to be able to figure them out by 
looking at them.

Mary Sue

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