Haemanthus coccineus vs. sanguineus

J.E. Shields jshields104@insightbb.com
Wed, 10 Sep 2003 16:11:22 PDT

I assume Doug and Rachel will chime in here, but since I have a copy of Dee 
Snijman's (out of print) book, "The Genus Haemanthus. A revision", I'll 
give you what I find there:

Haemanthus sanguineus.  The peduncle is unmarked (no bands or 
speckles).  The leaves are rough and leathery, and prostrate or close to 
the ground.  The leaf margins are reddish.  The underside of the leaves 
usually without any transverse bands or streaks.  The leaves are likely to 
be almost as broad as long, and blunter at the tip than coccineus.  The 
species is quite variable.

Haemanthus coccineus.  The peduncle may be spotted or streaked.  The leaves 
are smooth and fleshy, and semi-erect, only sometimes prostrate.  The 
underside of the leaves at the base have transverse bands or streaks.  Leaf 
margins mostly not red.  The leaves are more likely to be much longer than 
broad, and tapering to a point.

Where of the ranges of H. coccineus and H. sanguineus overlap at their 
easternmost end, the plants may be harder to distinguish.  If you know 
where your plants originated in the wild, that will help.  H. coccineus has 
a much broader geographic range than does sanguineus.

Most of my H. coccineus plants have the transverse dark green or maroon 
bands on the underside of the leaves at their base.  None of my (far fewer) 
plants of H. sanguineus show the basal banding.

Good luck!

Jim Shields
in central Indiana

At 09:59 PM 9/10/2003 +0200, you wrote:
>Doug and others,
>can you help me on how to tell these species apart? I have some in bloom 
>now, got from Sicily, where these are quite common in old gardens, but I 
>don't know actually which species it is.
>many thanks
>Angelo Porcelli

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:    http://www.shieldsgardens.com/
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA
Tel. ++1-317-867-3344     or      toll-free 1-866-449-3344 in USA

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