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 starting with A are found on this page.
Lachenalia alba grows in clay soils in renosterveld from Nieuwoudtville to Calvinia. It has two spear shaped leaves and white flowers with short pedicels. The first two photos below were taken September 2006 near Nieuwoudtville. The last picture of the flowers is of a cultivated plant. Photos by Mary Sue Ittner.
Lachenalia algoensis Schonl. Possibly a species for the collector as the flowers would not be considered by most as very outstanding being largely green shading to almost white at the base. The flowers are erect and have very short pedicels making a fairly tight flower spike. For me the flowering period only lasts from late August through September, short by comparison with many other species. For the collector it certainly has a charm that makes it worth growing. Description from Don Journet.
Lachenalia aloides is a species with many varieties found on granite and sandstone outcrops in the Northwest and Southwest Cape. Varieties and hybrids of this species are the most broadly grown of all species in this genus.
Lachenalia aloides 'Pearsonii' is a named cultivar of this species with vigorous growth and large flowers. The first photo below was taken by Doug Westfall. The second photo by Bob Rutemoeller is of a plant purchased at Trader Joe's (a grocery store) in Santa Rosa, California. It was growing in a tiny pot in pure peat. The second year all the bulbs split and there were quite a lot of blooming stalks. The photo is from this second year.
Lachenalia aloides varieties. Photo 1 taken by Bob Rutemoeller is what Gordon Summerfield calls a very unusually marked one from Piketberg. Photos 2-3 show another form from Gordon Summerfield. Photo 2 was photographed by Mary Sue Ittner and photo 3 from Colin Davis was received as Lachenalia tricolor which is a synonym for Lachenalia aloides var. aloides.
Lachenalia aloides var. aloides (syn. Lachenalia tricolor) has yellow flowers with reddish-orange tips and bright green gibbosities. Photo by Bill Dijk.
Lachenalia aloides var. aurea has two leaves that can be plain or spotted and golden-yellow flowers. This variety has long lasting flowers. Photo 1 was taken by Jana Ulmer. Photos 2-3 by Mary Sue Ittner show the flowers and the leaves of plants grown from wild seed collected near Paarl. Photos 4-6 were taken Nhu Nguyen. Photo 4 shows a form with green tepal tips. Photo 5 shows a closeup of another form. Photo 6 shows a dramatic display of orange!
The photo below was taken in habitat near Bainskloof by Andrew Harvie.
Lachenalia aloides var. quadricolor is found in humus-rich crevices in granite outcrops in the western Cape. It has distinctive four colored flowers that are reddish orange at the base shading to yellow with bright green gibbosities and purplish-maroon tips. This is an early flowering species blooming in the winter. Photo 1 taken by Kristina Van Wert is from the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens bulb collection. Photo 2 was taken by Mary Sue Ittner in Diana Chapman’s greenhouse. Photo 3 was from Alan Horstmann. Photos 3-6 were taken by Nhu Nguyen. Photo 4 was taken at the UC Botanical Garden. Photo 6 shows a different form of this variety.
Lachenalia aloides var. vanzyliae has one or two variable leaves, sometimes unmarked, but often marked purplish-brown on the upper surface. Outer flowers are pale blue to white with green or yellow-green gibbosities. The inner segments are yellow-green with white margins. Note from Don Journet: "It certainly causes visitors to comment at the unusual colour combinations. Cultivation requirements are similar to the rest of the group. If it is not repotted and fed every few years I find the plants become crowded and stunted and produce small flower spikes. Flowering times for me have been in the range from the fourth week in August to first week in November (southern hemisphere)." Photos 1-2 were taken by Mary Sue Ittner. Photo 3 was taken by Colin Davis and photos 4-5 were taken by Nhu Nguyen.
Lachenalia angelica is a small species from the West Coast. It has a single hairy leaf and white campanulate flowers with green gibbosities. Photo by Rod Saunders from Silverhill Seeds.
Lachenalia anguinea is commonly called 'snake leaved lachenalia'. One distinguishing feature is that it only has one leaf; the leaf is lanceolate, banded green and maroon. Flowers are bell shaped, cream with green markings on long pedicels with well exserted anthers. This species is found in deep coastal sands in the Northwest Cape and grows from 10 to 35 cm high. Photographs taken by David Retief near Redelingshuys of plants growing in sand.
Lachenalia arbuthnotiae W. F. Barker This species flowers from late August through to early November with showy yellow flowers that turn a dull red as they age. The spike is quite dense and generally longer than many, the flowers are upwards of horizontal with a pedicel that is so short the flowers almost clasp the rachis. With the added attraction of scented flowers this species would have to be regarded as one of the most desirable in collections. As well as the yellow flowered form I have one that has almost cream flowers which also turn dull red on aging. Description by Don Journet. Photo by Alan Horstmann.
Lachenalia attenuata was an offering from Mark Mazer to the BX. I really liked the leaves on this one. The flowers are more subtle and I found difficult to photograph as well. The first four photos by Mary Sue Ittner and the last from Alan Horstmann. Only the larger bulb in the fourth photograph is this species as only one has survived.