Haemanthus at Quail Botanical Gardens

Hannon othonna@gmail.com
Sun, 09 Mar 2008 20:04:48 PDT
Most botanic gardens do not have the luxury of a bulb specialist on staff,
or even members or volunteers who know bulbs well. The plant you saw is
almost certainly H. coccineus and not H. sanguineus, the latter in my
experience having short broad leaves strongly appressed to the ground and
finely rough-textured on the upper surface, with a narrow red margin. It is
apparently not uncommon about Cape Town but remains inexplicably rare in
cultivation, at least in California. Note that "sanguineus" and "coccineus"
both have approximately the same descriptive meaning (red coloration) and
the first name may have been accidentally recalled when the sign was made.

One of the more notable monocot specimens at Quail was also mislabeled last
time I saw it: an imposing bird's nest Anthurium with huge leaves, labeled A.
schlechtendalii as I recall but it is actually the distinctive A. salviniae.
It is not safe to presume that any name or identification is a sure thing in
a botanic garden or any other collection of plants. This is especially true
in gardens that lack trained botanical staff (as with Quail) and may not
have the resources to verify the names or identities of their plants.

Dylan Hannon

On Sun, Mar 9, 2008 at 7:19 PM, Allen Repashy <allenr@boardfishing.com>

> Hello Everyone,
> I was at Quail Botanical Gardens in Encinitas Ca. today and in the South
> Africa section they had a large species of Haemanthus that was in leaf.
> It was labeled as Haemanthus sanguineus.  But looking at the Wiki, it
> doesn't look to me like this species. The leaf's were not prostrate at
> all... the two leafs were quite large and glossy and approx 6" across at
> the widest point. probably 18 " long each. shooting straight up and then
> curling down and touching the ground at the tips, with about an eight
> inch gap under the arch.  It was quite striking. There were two or three
> clumps of the bulbs in the South African garden. Is anyone here familiar
> with Quail and the bulbs. I don't think if you were a bulb fan that you
> could miss them during the growing season. The description said it was a
> winter grower and deciduous. The plant to me looks exactly like
> Haemanthus coccineus, but I am a newbie at bulbs and only have photos
> for reference. Is it possible the plant is mis labeled at the garden? It
> sure seems the case, but I find it hard to believe they could make a
> mistake like that.
> Thanks, Allen
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