Lachenalia is a genus with bulbs in the Hyacinthaceae family found in Namibia and South Africa. There are around 110 species (80 of those are found in the Cape region.) Most of these have a dormancy period and grow new roots each year. Lachenalia species J-N are found on this page.
Lachenalia juncifolia Bak. is found in sand or limestone outcrops in the winter rainfall Cape. It has two leaves with maroon bands and white or pink bell shaped flowers on long pedicels with exserted anthers.
Lachenalia juncifolia var. campanulata W. F. Barker In my collection this variety flowers for a relatively short period in late September and early October. It has open bell shaped flowers that although rather small, are never the less very attractive. The flowers are much paler than var. juncifolia being almost white with the main colour being in the rose purple gibbosities and keel on the inner perianth segments. The bulbs are generally very small, only a few millimetres in diameter, and are easily overlooked when sorting through the potting mix at the end of the season. The leaves are semi-terete and can be mistaken for grass by the less experienced collector. Description by Don Journet. Photos below by Mary Sue Ittner shows the leaves and the flowers.
Lachenalia juncifolia var. juncifolia This variety has proven more robust than the other variety in my collection. The flowers consist of outer perianth segments which have a blush tinge at their base grading to pink and finally a rose-purple tip and gibbosities. The inner segments, which are largely hidden, have the same dark rose-purple tips showing between the outer segments. The flowering season has been fairly short for me being third week in September to second week in October. Description from Don Journet.
Lachenalia kliprandensis W.F. Barker from Kliprand (southwestern Bushland) South Africa, where it grows in red sand, has two ovate prostrate leaves with dark brown or green pustules on the surface and white flowers with brownish green gibbosities and pale magenta tips. Inner segments are white with broad magenta tips. This species resembles Lachenalia carnosa . Rachel Saunders has written about this close resemblance in the Indigenous Bulb Association of South Africa Bulletin from 2001 in an article entitled Too many Lachenalias. The first two photos by Mary Sue Ittner of plants grown from Silverhill Seeds and the last from Alan Horstmann.
Lachenalia liliflora Jacq. is from hilly slopes in the renosterveld in the southwesten Cape and blooms in spring. The bell-shaped flowers have short pedicels and are white with brownish markings and magenta tips. It is one of the later flowering species. Photo 1 was taken by Alan Horstmann, photos 2-3 by Mary Sue Ittner, and photos 4-5 by Nhu Nguyen.
Lachenalia longibracteata Phillips is found on clay flats and slopes in the northwest and southwest Cape. It has shortly pedicellate or sessile flowers that are bell-shaped. Each flower has a long bract at the base. The flowers are pale blue or yellow with a blue base and brown or green markings. Flowering in the wild is from July to September. The anthers are included. Photos by Alan Horstmann and Rod Saunders
Lachenalia mathewsii W.F. Barker is found only on the South African Cape west coast on moist lower slopes. It flowers in spring and is yellow with green markings. Photos by Mary Sue Ittner
Lachenalia mediana Jacq. grows in clay soil in the northwest and southwest Cape. Flowers are pale blue and white or pinkish blue, with green or purple markings and bell-shaped with short pedicels. Anthers are included. Photo by Alan Horstmann
Lachenalia multifolia W.F. Barker is found in the Western Cape. The tips of the tepals are maroon, which resembles several species such as L. liliiflora and L. orthopetala. It takes 4 years to bloom this species from seeds. Photos taken by Nhu Nguyen.
Lachenalia mutabilis Sweet is found on sandy and stony slopes in the north and southwestern Cape. There are many forms of this species. Photo 1 taken by Mary Sue Ittner, shows plants growing in the wild between Clanwilliam and Citrusdal. Photo 2 was taken by Cameron McMaster in the Overberg.
The photos below are of plants in cultivation. Photo 1 by Bob Rutemoeller shows a form grown from seed by Mary Sue Ittner. Photos 2-3 show the same form as photo 1 grown by Nhu Nguyen. Photo 4 shows plants grown in California by Michael Mace. Photo 5 by Bob Rutemoeller is of a dwarf form that was grown by Alan Horstmann in South Africa.
Lachenalia namaquensis Schltr. Ex W. F. Barker is found in Namaqualand in exposed rocky habitats and has urn-shaped striking magenta flowers which are quite eye catching. The outer perianth segments have a tinge of blue at the base but then shade through a pink magenta to a deep magenta at the tips. The gibbosities are magenta and green. The magenta inner segments protrude beyond the outer segments and flare out adding to the colour mass. Description by Don Journet. The first photo was taken by Bob Rutemoeller. The second was taken by Andrew Harvie northwest of Steinkopf in Namaqualand.
Lachenalia namibiensis W.F. Barker is an attractive dwarf species from southwestern Namibia with white flowers. Photo by Alan Horstmann.
Lachenalia nervosa (syn. Lachenalia latifolia Tratt.) grows on coastal grassland in the southern Cape and has two leaves that are sometimes pustulate with longitudinal veins and bell-shaped white flowers with reddish pink markings and exserted anthers. The first two photos from Bob Rutemoeller are of flowers and leaves. The last two were taken by Cameron McMaster in Napier in the Overberg.