Is this normal for Haemanthus nortieri?

J.E. Shields
Tue, 12 Jan 2010 11:50:58 PST

Your detailed close-up pictures do convince me that you probably really do 
have nortieri.  It won't hurt your plant if you gently touch the 
leaves.  Mine get handled quite regularly.  Water does wash some of the 
adhering dust particles off, so rain over several hours or days might well 
wash the leaves clean.

I have only seen two plants of Haemanthus nortieri:  my own, and the one 
Graham Duncan is growing in the bulb house at Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden 
in Cape Town.  There is no illustration of it in Snijman's "The Genus 

You have not mentioned where you live (or I failed to note it).  Growing 
your plants outdoors in wind and rain will leave them looking somewhat 
different from mine, which must be kept inside a greenhouse all year 
around.  My Haemanthus have not seen natural rain in their entire 
lifetimes, for the most part.  Sometimes a couple of them get to sit 
outdoors in August or September.  Indiana is today having very mild weather 
-- snow on the ground since shortly after Christmas, but the temperature 
reaching up to 30°F (-1 C) for the first time in 2010.  In summer, we get 3 
or 4 inches of rain each month.

My coccineus slowly lower their leaves from erect to prostrate over the 
course of the growing season.  Most are still semi-erect at this point, but 
they are inside a greenhouse and protected form wind and rain.

H. unifoliatus is the only other consistently single-leaf Haemanthus, and 
it occasionally puts up two leaves (also from Snijman's book).  The red 
color of the leaf bases and lack of transverse red striation does make me 
think your bulb is nortieri.  You are very lucky to have it!

Best wishes,
Jim Shields
in Westfield, Indiana

At 07:19 PM 1/12/2010 +0000, you wrote:

> > From: J.E. Shields <>
> >
>Dear Mr. Jim
>I apologise for sounding a bit presumptuous regarding the ID of the plant. 
>You are totally right,I have no idea of what species it might be. But I've 
>been observing its morphological features for a while, and it matches H. 
>nortieri characteristics more than any other taxon of that genus. Of 
>course the bibliography regarding the whole genus is very scarce, and I 
>might be wrong... I´m also no expert on this family at all, very far from 
>that, but this identification I made is just a thought.
> > (...)What it actually is would be hard to say until it
> > blooms.  At a guess, you
> > have Haemanthus coccineus.  H. coccineus will
> > eventually bloom for you, and
> > then should bloom almost every year from then on.  It
> > does make a very
> > attractive plant and inflorescence, but it is not
> > rare.
>I agree with you again. Perhaps H. nortieri is so rare that only the 
>specialists are able to supply it with the conditions it needs and it is 
>not a suitable thing for young amateurs, like me, to grow. But actually I 
>enjoy growing plants mainly for their beauty and not because they are rare 
>or a collector's item. There are so many species that are somehow common, 
>but equally beautiful, like these four Scadoxus puniceus that i sew when i 
>was 8 y old and are just about to bloom :)
>Kind regards

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

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