Cyanella

Cyanella is a genus of Southern Africa in the Tecophilaeaceae family that grows from a corm. Five of the seven species are found in the Cape Floral Province. Species are mostly characteristic of the more arid parts of the winter rainfall region and are pollinated by bees. They should be planted in deep pots in a coarse well drained medium and grow best in full sun.


Cyanella alba Linnaeus fil. has one or two white, pink, or yellow flowers on long pedicels. It flowers late winter to spring and grows on stony clay and sandstone soils in dry winter rainfall areas. Flowers are solitary, usually on pedicels more than 10 cm. long. This beautiful yellow form pictured first occurs in the Biedouw Valley, but is not common in cultivation. This first photo was taken at the Karoo Desert NBG in Worcester, August 2003 and the second photo was of plants grown by Jim Holmes and on display at the IBSA Bulb and Corm Symposium August 2003. Photos by Bob Rutemoeller.

Cyanella alba, yellow form, Karoo Desert NBG, Bob RutemoellerCyanella alba, yellow form, IBSA Symposium 2003, Bob Rutemoeller

Photos taken of the yellow form near the Biedouw Valley September 2006 by Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner.

Cyanella alba, yellow form, Biedouw Valley, Bob RutemoellerCyanella alba, yellow form, Biedouw Valley, Mary Sue IttnerCyanella alba, yellow form, Biedouw Valley, Mary Sue Ittner

The first five photos below were taken by Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner of the white form which is more common, seen south of Nieuwoudtville in the Bokkeveld Plateau September 2006. In the second picture it is growing with Moraea pritzeliana. The yellow flower seen in many of these photos is Ursinia nana. The last photo was taken by Bob Rutemoeller in the bulb room of the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.

Cyanella alba near Nieuwoudtville, Bob RutemoellerCyanella alba, Moraea pritzeliana near Nieuwoudtville, Bob RutemoellerCyanella alba near Nieuwoudtville, Mary Sue IttnerCyanella alba near Nieuwoudtville, Bob RutemoellerCyanella alba near Nieuwoudtville, Mary Sue IttnerCyanella alba, Kirstenbosch, Bob Rutemoeller

Cyanella aquatica Obermeyer ex G.Scott grows in seasonally waterlogged dolerite outcrops in the Roggeveld. Plants grow to 40 cm. high and have orange lightly scented flowers. This species has five upper stamens and one larger lower.


Cyanella cygnea G.Scott is a species from northern Namaqualand which is distinguished by the upper 3 stamens that are free and curved like the neck of a swan. Photo of plants grown at the Karoo Desert NBG in South Africa taken August 2003 by Bob Rutemoeller.

Cyanella cygnea seen at the Karoo Desert NBG, Bob Rutemoeller

Cyanella hyacinthoides Linnaeus grows on mostly clay and granite slopes, often in renosterveld from Namaqualand to the southern cape and the Karoo. Flowers are in a branched raceme, blue to mauve, rarely white and are violet scented. This species also has five upper stamens and one larger lower. The first three photos below photographed by Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner were taken in Namaqualand September 2006.

Cyanella hyacinthoides, Namaqualand, Bob RutemoellerCyanella hyacinthoides, Namaqualand, Bob RutemoellerCyanella hyacinthoides, Namaqualand, Mary Sue Ittner

Photos 1-4 below were taken by Mary Sue Ittner. Photos 1-3 were taken near Clanwilliam September 2006 where there were many patches of them along the road. One was growing near an Albuca which could be Albuca suaveolens which has yellow flowers with green keels, but Albuca pentheri grows in this area too. In photo 3 they are seen growing with Lapeirousia fabricii. Photo 4 shows white flowered ones photographed near Nieuwoudtville. Photos 5-6 were taken near Nieuwoudtville by Bob Rutemoeller.

Cyanella hyacinthoides, Mary Sue IttnerCyanella hyacinthoides, Albuca sp., Mary Sue IttnerCyanella hyacinthoides, Lapeirousia fabricii, Mary Sue IttnerCyanella hyacinthoides, Nieuwoudtville, Mary Sue IttnerCyanella hyacinthoides, Nieuwoudtville, Bob RutemoellerCyanella hyacinthoides, Nieuwoudtville, Bob Rutemoeller

Photos 1-3 were taken by Nhu Nguyen at the UC Botanical Garden. Photo 4 taken by Mary Sue Ittner shows the corms on a 1 cm grid.

Cyanella hyacinthoides, Nhu NguyenCyanella hyacinthoides, Nhu NguyenCyanella hyacinthoides, Nhu NguyenCyanella hyacinthoides corms, Mary Sue Ittner

Cyanella lutea Linnaeus fil. flowers late spring. It has yellow flowers, rarely pink and is found on clay or limestone flats over a broad area from southern Namibia to Lesothos, Botswana and including areas of winter rainfall, year round rainfall and summer rainfall. The first one was photographed in Montagu in the Little Karoo in September 2003 by Bob Rutemoeller. My garden plants of this species often spend the year underground, especially after being transplanted. I dug out bulbs to redo a bed and wasn't sure what the bulb looked like to rescue it. Blooming in April the following year in a container composed of unknown bulbs I couldn't figure out, it appeared again. Second photo by Mary Sue Ittner

Cyanella lutea photographed in Montagu, Bob RutemoellerCyanella lutea, garden, Mary Sue Ittner

Photos taken by Mary Sue Ittner near Calvinia September 2006.

Cyanella lutea photographed near Calvinia, Mary Sue IttnerCyanella lutea photographed near Calvinia, Mary Sue IttnerCyanella lutea photographed near Calvinia, Mary Sue Ittner

Cyanella orchidiformis Jacquin grows on rocky flats and lower slopes, often in wet spots, from Namibia to the western Cape (Clanwilliam). Growing to 40 cm.high, this species has mauve flowers with a maroon center. Flowers are carnation scented and unlike many of the other species, this species has three upper and three larger lower stamens. The photos below were taken by Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner September 2006. Photos one through five were taken in Namaqualand including a rare white one. The last photo was taken near Clanwilliam.

Cyanella orchidiformis, Namaqualand, Bob RutemoellerCyanella orchidiformis, Namaqualand, Mary Sue IttnerCyanella orchidiformis, Namaqualand, Mary Sue IttnerCyanella orchidiformis, Namaqualand, Mary Sue IttnerCyanella orchidiformis, Namaqualand, Mary Sue IttnerCyanella orchidiformis, Clanwilliam, Bob Rutemoeller

Return to the PBS wiki Photographs And Information page.
Page last modified on December 09, 2014, at 07:18 AM