Gethyum Phil. is a South American genus in the Alliaceae family that some now believe should be in its own family, Gilliesiaceae. Some authorities believe that the correct name for this genus is Solaria.
Gethyum atropurpureum Phil. syn. Solaria atropurpurea (Phil.) Ravenna is a species native to the area near Santiago, Chile. It is from an area with mild wet winters and is dormant in summer. This spring blooming plant is more interesting than beautiful with black flowers that look like stars. The stamens have filaments that are united at the base in a ring. It is easily grown from seed and also increases from offsets. It needs plenty of moisture during growth and a dry dormancy. Peter Taggart from the UK writes: "The seeds seem to require darkness to germinate. I had good germination in wet sand when coverd by an upturned plant pot. Germination had previously failed twice without darkness. My own seed on all three occasions, the third (successful) occasion was with seeds two years old. I have found it hardy to around minus 15 C (kept dryish) but lost my origional bulbs in an even colder Winter." Photos 1-2 submitted by Diana Chapman, photos 3-4 taken by Alessandro Marinello, and photos 5-6 taken by Hans Joschko.