Griffinia

Griffinia is endemic to Brazil and sparsely distributed throughout the remnants of the Mata Atlántica, or Brazilian Atlantic Forest, and the gallery forests and dendritic passages of northeastern Brazil, once associated with a wider, more ancient forest. Griffinia is most closely related to Worsleya raynerii, another endangered relict from eastern Brazil. The genus consists of about 15 species, or so (depending on your concept of a species), and is a member of the Amaryllidaceae family.

The habitats of Griffinia and Worsleya, both endangered Eastern Brazilian endemics, have been greatly modified by man. Continued deforestation of the Mata Atlántica could result in the extinction of these critically endangered plants (Griffinia) in their native habitats. Most species of Griffinia grow in the lush, wet understory of tropical, maritime forests of eastern Brazil. The once contiguous forests of the Mata Atlántica, which extended inland from the coast about 100 kilometers in the north and more than 500 kilometers in the south, encompassed about a million square kilometers and ranged from 8° to 28° South latitude. A survey of the entire Atlantic Forest showed that by 1990 only a little more than eight percent, or 83,500 square kilometers, remained. Contiguous chunks of forest are now rare. The blue-flowered Griffinia are primary rain forest elements, and do not re-colonize readily where forest disturbance has been manifold. The white-flowered Hyline are threatened with the continued expansion of agriculture in the semi-arid interior. (Information from Kevin Preuss.)


Griffinia aracensis This species is considered the easiest to cultivate. The first two photos taken by Mark Wilcox are macro photos showing a seed approximately 5/16 of an inch (0.79 cm) long by 1/4 of an inch (0.64 cm) wide and the flowers with a decent depth of field. The black area on the right is part of the remains of the flower. (The black area is actually the remains of an elaiosome, an oil rich body attractive to ants, which is found on all Griffinia seeds. The seeds will not germinate until the elaisome is consumed or otherwise removed - Alan Meerow). The third photo taken July 2004 by Jay Yourch is a close-up of a flower. The fourth photo was taken by Mary Sue Ittner who grows this as a houseplant in her bathroom. It is green for most of the year and flowers reliably.

Griffinia aracensis seed, Mark WilcoxGriffinia aracensis, Mark WilcoxGriffinia aracensis, Jay YourchGriffinia aracensis, Mary Sue Ittner

My G. aracensis finally bloomed this year. The flowers are smaller than those of G. espiritensis or G. liboniana and the petals are much narrower. The leaves are also smaller and much narrower than those of espiritensis or liboniana. Photos taken August 2004 by Lee Poulsen.

Griffinia aracensis, Lee Poulsen

Griffinia espiritensis & Griffinia liboniana grown in my (humid) unheated pseudo-greenhouse. The liboniana species has spotted leaves. They grow very well in a well-drained medium and flower in shady areas. They go dormant for me in the winter. Photo taken August 2003 by Lee Poulsen.

Griffinia espiritensis and Griffinia liboniana, Lee Poulsen

Griffinia espiritensis Somewhat out of focus close-up of this species. First photo taken August 2003 by Lee Poulsen.

Griffinia espiritensis, Lee Poulsen

Griffinia espiritensis subsp. espiritensis In my experience this subspecies, once established, has proven to make offsets relatively freely and in a somewhat stoloniferous manner. Flowering is usually in late spring. This year I had two inflorescences appear in succession. The flower peduncles are easily knocked over and I've found I must be very careful when carrying the plant so that it won't bend horizontally or break off due to a sudden movement. The leaves are always very glossy. I keep it in a small pot, only 10 cm wide and 8 cm deep. Grown in Honolulu, Hawai`i by Jacob Uluwehi Knecht.

Griffinia espiritensis subsp. espiritensis, Jacob Uluwehi KnechtGriffinia espiritensis subsp. espiritensis, Jacob Uluwehi KnechtGriffinia espiritensis subsp. espiritensis, Jacob Uluwehi KnechtGriffinia espiritensis subsp. espiritensis, Jacob Uluwehi KnechtGriffinia espiritensis subsp. espiritensis, Jacob Uluwehi KnechtGriffinia espiritensis subsp. espiritensis leaves, Jacob Uluwehi Knecht

The image below by Jacob Uluwehi Knecht is of one of the larger offsets I removed with a simple gentle tug this spring after flowering.

Griffinia espiritensis subsp. espiritensis bulb and roots, Jacob Uluwehi Knecht

Griffinia hyacinthina is a large plant with broad petiolate leaves and up to 21 flowers per stalk. It blooms mid-summer. Photo 1 was taken by Kevin Preuss.

Griffinia hyacinthina, Kevin Preuss

The photos below were taken by Dylan Hannon showing flowers (with hand for scale), and the gigantic fleshy seeds!

Griffinia hyacinthina, Dylan HannonGriffinia hyacinthina, Dylan HannonGriffinia hyacinthina, Dylan HannonGriffinia hyacinthina seed, Dylan HannonGriffinia hyacinthina seed, Dylan HannonGriffinia hyacinthina seed, Dylan Hannon

Griffinia intermedia is a species endemic to Brazil. Photos by Alan Meerow were taken in situ in Itatiaia National Park, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil.

Griffinia intermedia, Alan MeerowGriffinia intermedia, Alan MeerowGriffinia intermedia, Alan MeerowGriffinia intermedia, Alan MeerowGriffinia intermedia, Alan MeerowGriffinia intermedia, Alan Meerow

This species grows in a the Atlantic Rainforest habitat shown below, photographed by Alan Meerow in January 2013.

Griffinia intermedia, habitat, Alan Meerow

Griffinia liboniana is distinctive in that the leaves have clear white spots. It is a slow growing species and thus multiplies slowly. The photos below were taken by Lee Poulsen.

Griffinia liboniana, July 2003 by Lee PoulsenGriffinia liboniana, July 2003 by Lee PoulsenGriffinia liboniana, July 2004 by Lee PoulsenGriffinia liboniana, July 2004 by Lee PoulsenGriffinia liboniana, August 2004 by Lee PoulsenGriffinia liboniana foliage, Lee Poulsen

The photos below were taken by Nhu Nguyen of a plant. It went through a short period of drought and as a result, bloomed heavily and beautifully after it was watered again.

Griffinia liboniana, Nhu NguyenGriffinia liboniana, Nhu NguyenGriffinia liboniana, Nhu Nguyen

Griffinia rochae is native to Brazil. Photos from Alessandro Marinello.

Griffinia rochae, Alessandro MarinelloGriffinia rochae, Alessandro Marinello

Griffinia sp. The following pictures are from Alessandro Marinello, a still unidentified Griffinia originally purchased from the U.S.

Griffinia sp., Alessandro MarinelloGriffinia sp., Alessandro MarinelloGriffinia sp., Alessandro MarinelloGriffinia sp., Alessandro Marinello

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