Low Winter Temperatures in South Africa/Gethyllis

John Bryan johnbryan@worldnet.att.net
Mon, 19 Jul 2004 14:02:08 PDT
Dear Mary Sue:

You might find the South African Field Guide #6 Karoo of help. Flora of
the Natal Drakensberg by Donal Killick, published in 1990 by Jonathan
Ball and Ad. Donkers, Johannesburg, might also help. in John
Hutchinson's book A Botanist in Southern Africa, (page 627) he mentions
Gethyllis cilaris as being common on the Cape Flats, a fruit much sought
after by children in June. Cheers, John E. Bryan

Mary Sue Ittner wrote:
> Dear All,
> Gordon Summerfield in his post to me mentioned the lows that one of the
> species experienced in Sutherland which gave Jim McKenney hopes that he
> could grow Gethyllis.
> Recently on our list there was a thread about South African bulbs and
> hardiness that made it clear that in cold winter climates some people could
> grow South African bulbs and some could not. David Fenwick plants his
> really deep which helps in the UK. Ellen Hornig has a protective cover of
> snow which keeps the soil temperatures moderated. Others no doubt count on
> mulch or tree cover. It appears that most of the bulbs that people are
> trying are summer growing bulbs from the Drakensberg. That would make sense
> since you would assume that since they would be dormant during the coldest
> time of the year they might be more tolerant.
> For the longest time IBSA members have talked about the wonderful flora
> they see each year in another cold part of South Africa, but this one in
> the winter rainfall area. Sutherland which Gordon mentioned is in the area
> described in The Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs as the Roggeveld Center.
> The higher elevations of this area (winter rainfall, but not a lot, up to
> 250 mm or 10 inches in some areas) get cold and Sutherland is one of them.
> I keep hoping someone is going to do a field guide for this area
> (Sutherland-Middelpos) as there isn't one now. I read about these plants
> and want to see what they look like. It would be interesting to learn how
> many of them would survive in colder climates. They probably wouldn't make
> it in climates as cold as Jim Waddick and Jim Shields' however. Silverhill
> Seed occasionally collects seed there and that would seem to be one way to
> go since these species are not widely grown.
> Most people grow Gethyllis in pots. Why couldn't they be brought inside to
> a cool room if the temperatures got really cold and then moved back outside
> when the cold spell passed. I've done that with plants here I cherished and
> didn't want to take a chance on. It surely doesn't stay at the extremely
> low temperatures all the time. The other factor I don't know about however
> is how they would do during summer temperatures. As Jim said you could
> shelter them from the rain and daytime hot temperatures are not a problem
> it appears. But I seem to recall Rachel saying that it cooled off at night
> in Sutherland even in summer. So perhaps the species most adapted to cold
> temperatures in winter, wouldn't like hot nighttime summer temperatures. So
> it might be the same thing as the Drakensberg plants, but this time it
> would be a matter of whether hot night time temperatures would be a problem
> during dormancy, not during growth. Until someone tries them however, we
> won't really know.
> Mary Sue
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