Blandfordia

Blandfordia is a genus of perennials from Australia, split out of Liliaceae into a family of its own, Blandfordiaceae. The four species grow from a rhizome that has fibrous roots, and they are usually found in well drained acid soils that may be inundated for part of the year. They are commonly known as Christmas bells since their flowering in their native habitat coincides with the celebration of Christmas.


Blandfordia cunninghamii is found on wet sandstone crevices of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales. It has tubular red or orange-red flowers with yellow tips and margins.


Blandfordia grandiflora from Queensland and New South Wales has tubular red or orange-red waxy flowers with yellow tips. It prefers moist to wet sandy soils with dappled shade or part sun. Photo 1 from Lyn Edwards of a pale colored form. Photo 2 of seed by David Pilling.

blandfordia grandiflora, Lyn Edwardsblandfordia grandiflora seed, David Pilling

Blandfordia nobilis from New South Wales has tubular flowers that are red to orange red, yellow, or combinations of these colors. The photos below were taken by Nhu Nguyen at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum.

Blandfordia nobilis, Nhu NguyenBlandfordia nobilis, Nhu NguyenBlandfordia nobilis, Nhu Nguyen

Blandfordia punicea from Tasmania has been described as the most difficult in cultivation. This species grows in moist places throughout Tasmania's West & Central Highlands, but is not restricted to such places. The best display of Blandfordia punicea seen by Neil Jordan of Tasmania who shared information about this species was near the township of Zeehan. Here they grow by the thousands on shallow peat over acid soils of almost pure sand. Zeehan's annual rainfall is around the 100 inches a year, but there is precious little cover from other plants on totally exposed hillsides which are baked by summer temperatures to 100 °F. These plants certainly enjoy water, but need good drainage. Tubular flowers taper to the base and vary in colour from the deep pink-red ones, to true reds and oranges, with occasional pure yellow specimens on stems like well-grown gladioli. Photos below by Rob Hamilton are of plants he purchased that did not have a species name, but have been confirmed to be this species. In the first photo not all of the flowers are open.

Blandfordia punicea, Rob HamiltonBlandfordia punicea, Rob Hamilton

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Page last modified on February 07, 2014, at 06:14 PM