TOW - Ledebouria

Tue, 11 May 2004 20:54:11 PDT
Dear  Rhoda,

Thanks for your introduction to Ledebouria.

I've attempted several crosses this Spring with Ledebouria:  L. galpinii X
L. socialis , L. rupestris X L. socialis,  and L. crispa X L. socialis.
With each I've also  tried the reverse cross.  Galpinii X socialis yielded
two seed, and there is now one seedlings.  It remains to be seen if it is a
hybrid.  Rupestris X socialis yielded 4 seeds, and these have just been

Of about 6 differing clones of L. socialis I grow only a couple seem to be
fertile, even when intercrossed.

Ledebouria rupestris displays a valuable characteristic in having very long
lasting flowers starting a grayed purple and aging green, but with an
attractive from.

I see you have added a new Ledebouria image to the Wiki, L. species growing
from a hole in a vertical rock face.  Eastern Cape.  Hope you give us some
idea of scale.

Look forward to additional images.  Thanks for all the time and effort.

Fred Boutin
Tuolumne, California
Where I have to grow Ledebouria as houseplants.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Cameron McMaster" <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, May 09, 2004 2:39 PM
Subject: [pbs] TOW - Ledebouria

> The genus Ledebouria (Hyacinthaceae) in South Africa contains about 40
species, with only two confined to the winter rainfall region, three
overlapping winter and summer rainfall regions, and the rest confined to the
summer rainfall region.  The unpublished revision done in 1993 by S. Venter
is the most recent, but it is still not easy to use especially when the
bulbs are not in flower.  In October 2002 a vegetative key was published by
A. Hankey (following Venter's revision) which is more user-friendly.
> Ledebouria species are from a few cms to about 30 cms tall, usually having
interesting or decorative leaves which can make appealing pot subjects,
especially the dwarf species.  Their flowers are arranged on a floppy spike
mostly appearing in early spring before the grass is up.  The individual
flowers are not large or showy, but when examined closely they are exquisite
with various colourings of mauve, purple and pink (sometimes almost
luminous) on the stamens and pedicels.   They usually like to grow amongst
rocks or in grassveld.  They go dormant in the dry winters, and can tolerate
a degree or two of frost.  In the montane grassland species, they would get
a bit of winter moisture from mist or the occasional light shower/snowfall.
> The seeds of most of the summer rainfall species are usually ripe by early
summer and ready to germinate immediately with no fuss.  I have found a
clone or single plants do not set seed.  They seem to need cross-pollination
to produce seeds.  Does anyone know how easily they would hybridise?
> Hankey divides the South African species into three Sections.
> In Section A with leaves erect (majority on an axis closer to 90 than 45
degrees), there are eight species, including:
> L. viscosa which has sand particles sticking to the leaves.
> L. dolomitica and L. cooperi which may both sometimes have more floppy
than upright leaves and are therefore also listed in Section C.
> L. sandersonii can be very confusing with very variable leaves, and is
listed in all three Sections!
> In Section B with leaves adpressed to the soil surface, there are seven
species, including:
> L. galpinii, a delightful miniature with purplish-green  textured leaves,
and a beautiful little cluster of pink flowers in early spring.
> L. ovatifolia, which occurs to tropical Africa and Sri Lanka.
> L. ovalifolia (confusing with the previous name!!) which I would include
in Section C because my plants have semi-upright leaves, definitlely not
pressed to the ground. Could it be a hybrid? This one is from the winter
rainfall region with a summer dormancy, or evergreen in my experience
growing it here in Napier (the Overberg region of the Western Cape).
> In Section C with leaves variously spreading but not erect or adpressed,
there are 25 species, including:
> L. hypoxidioides, so called because of the likeness to a Hypoxis with
hairy (on both sides) leaves.
> L. rupestris, a dwarf species with interestingly textured leaves.
> L. socialis, a small species with the bulb exposed and very attractive
silvery mottled leaves.
> L. crispa, a dwarf species with a most attractive crisped leaf margin.  My
single bulb has multiplied vegetatively into a decorative clump.  Alas, no
> L. floribunda, a large species, usually with beautifully spotted leaves.
The traditional healers in the Eastern Cape use this bulb.
> L. revoluta, a medium size species, with dull or dark spots on the leaves.
It occurs from Port Elizabeth into eastern Africa and as far as India.
There are many around Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape.  Apparently the bulbs
are edible.
> I hope to post some pics to the wiki tomorrow.
> References and some further reading:
> Craib, C.  1998. HERBERTIA Vol. 53:  49-53.
> Craib, C. and A. Hankey.  1998.  HERBERTIA Vol. 53: 54-58.
> Craib, C. and L. Brown.  1998.  HERBERTIA Vol. 53: 59-63.
> Craib, C. and L. Brown. 1999. HERBERTIA Vol. 54: 43-50.
> Hankey, A.  2002. Vegetative key to the Genus Ledebouria (Hyacinthaceae)
in South Africa.  PLANTLIFE  No. 27:  16-19.
> Manning, J. P. Goldblatt and D. Snijman.2002.  THE COLOR ENCYCLOPEDIA OF
CAPE BULBS:  272-274.
> Venter, S. 1993.  A revision of the genus Ledebouria (Hyacinthaceae) in
South Africa.  M.Sc. thesis, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg.
> Rhoda McMaster
> African Bulbs (formerly The Croft, Stutterheim, E. Cape)
> Napier, W. Cape
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