Kniphofia outside South Africa
Tue, 09 Dec 2008 07:39:56 PST
Having written the account for the Flora of Tropical East Africa and collected a number on expeditions for Kew, I am relatively familiar with them in the wild (at least Kenya and Tanzania).  There are certainly flora accounts for all the tropical African species, but possibly not for the solitary Madagascan or Yemen species.  There is also a more popular article on Kniphofia thomsonii, one of the most common tropical Kniphofia in cultivation, by Grant-Downton, R. 1997. Notes on _Kniphofia thomsonii_ in cultivation and in the wild. _The New Plantsman_ 4(3):148-156.
On the other hand, I have only ever grown two tropical ones in the UK, both of which are also in the current Kniphofia trial at Wisley: the aforementioned Kniphofia thomsonii var. thomsonii and the Ethiopian K. foliosa.  The former is on the edge of hardiness in this part of Britain and is deciduous but often pulls through the winter.  The latter is a very easy species to grow, and though it can be shy flowering it is one of the better species to grow for foliage.  It is also one of the first flowering in the year and I am investigating the apparent close relationship between it and the cultivar 'Atlanta'.
Other species that occur outside of South Africa that are in cultivation in Britain are K. linearifolia (although this also occurs in SA and so is possibly selections from there) and apparently K. pumila (possibly unique in that the flowers open from the top down).
As for cultivars, we have over 700 names on our horticultural database of species and cultivars ( - although web version is slightly out of date with only 450).  A good reference for the commoner ones, although now somewhat dated, is Taylor, J. 1985. _Kniphofia_ - a Survey. _The Plantsman_ 7(3):129-160.


Dr Christopher Whitehouse
Keeper of the Herbarium
RHS Garden Wisley
Surrey GU23 6QB
Tel: 01483 224234
Fax: 01483 211750

Message: 1
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2008 20:18:04 +0100
From: "Martin Ravn Tversted" <>
Subject: [pbs] Kniphofia outside South Africa
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Im currently writing an article for the Danish Rock Garden Society about the 
genus Kniphofia. I have good litterature and first hand experience with many 
of the hardy south african species and two species from further north. 
However, I really need some references to the species outside South Africa. 
Especially the species from Yemen and those from Madagascar is not some I 
can find much about. But also the species from the rest of Africa are 
appearently absent from generel cultivation or am I wrong? I need more 
technical descriptions of these species.

So please, if anyone is having pdf-files or suggestions to futher reading 
please let me know. Also, if anyone is having first hand experience with 
those species I mention, feed free to either write me or discuss it here.

Another problem is the many cultivars. I can easily list of good number of 
hybrids that I find usefull in the garden but for the compleateness in it I 
cannot find any lists or reference to the history of them. Who made what 
hybrid? Are there any registre or database about this?

tversted at

Martin Tversted
Northern Nursery

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