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 R-S are found on this page.
Lachenalia reflexa Thunb. has one or two lanceolate or strap-shaded leaves and bright yellow urn-shaped flowers and grows on wet sandy flats in the southwestern Cape blooming in winter. Unlike most lachenalia the flowers are born upright on a peduncle that only pushes the flowers just above the foliage. The plants are also smaller than most other lachenalia making it ideal for pot culture or in an area where the competition is not too fierce. For me this species has flowered over an extended period, on different plants, stretching from the first week in June to the second week in October. Some of this information including blooming time furnished by Don Journet.
This species, also known as Yellow soldier, is a noxious weed in Western Australia. See an informative pamphlet here: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/invasive/weeds/publications/guidelines/alert/pubs/l-reflexa.pdf
Photo 1 by Kristina Van Wert is from the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens bulb collection and photo 2 is from Mary Sue Ittner. Photo 3 by Nhu Nguyen from the UC Botanical Garden shows a form with crispy leaf margins.
Lachenalia rosea is mostly coastal and found on wet flats. Its flowers can be pink or pink and blue. It is a later flowering species. The flowers in the first photo by Bob Rutemoeller are light pink with darker pink markings. The second photo by Kristina Van Wert is from the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens bulb collection. The third photo was taken by Mary Sue Ittner.
Photos from wild populations from Cameron McMaster and Andrew Harvie. All of the pictures were taken in the Overberg; the first from Boskloof, the second taken near Caledon, the third near Napier, and the last two between Botriver and Kleinmond.
Lachenalia rubida Jacq. is usually the first lachenalia to bloom for me each year after it starts raining in the fall. It has green or spotted leaves and plain or spotted pink or red flowers and grows on sandy flats and slopes. The species is well worth including in any collection and is relatively easy to cultivate. The first two photos from Mary Sue Ittner show California plants grown from seed. The third photo is provided by Bill Dijk. The fourth photo is of the plain form, by Michael Mace. The last photo from Rachel Saunders was taken near Kommetjie (southwest Cape) where it was in bloom after fire, April 2011.
Lachenalia salteri is a late flowering coastal species (southwest and southern Cape) often found growing in marshy areas around seasonal pools. It has bell shaped flowers that are reddish purple or a combination of pale blue and pink. The anthers are exserted. Photos by Mary Sue Ittner taken in May 2008.
Lachenalia sargeantii is a rare species which is entirely fire-dependent. It was discovered near Bredasdorp in 1971 and was not seen in flower again until Cameron McMaster found a second population in 2004 flowering near Napier after a fire. In October 2006 Cameron discovered a third population on the mountain above Napier in an area that was burned last summer. The story of the bulb's rediscovery is posted here. The plants are found in small localised populations on rocky outcrops in mountain Fynbos at an altitude of 450 meters. They apparently only flower after fire which can occur at intervals of 10 to 20 years. The plants persist by making leaf growth each year and can multiply by means of bulblets that form around the parent bulb. Photos by Cameron McMaster. Last picture from Colin Davis shows the multitude of offsets this species is capable of producing.
Lachenalia schelpei W. F. Barker is probably not likely to be grown by other than the most ardent lachenalia enthusiasts. The flower colour is probably as close to a camouflage as one could get being mottled in various greens along with maroon to brown markings on the gibbosities and tips of the inner segments. Information supplied by Don Journet.
Lachenalia splendida Diels is found on sandy flats in the northwest Cape. It was once known as L. roodeae. It has two unmarked leaves and sessile flowers that are pale blue and bright lilac with exserted stamens. It is a very attractive pot plant. It flowers in late winter. Photo 1 by Mary Sue Ittner. Photos 2-3 by Nhu Nguyen.
Lachenalia thomasiae grows on rocky sandstone slopes in the Clanwilliam district. It has two leaves and white bell-shaped flowers with green or brown markings on long pedicels with well exserted anthers. Photos from Mary Sue Ittner.
Lachenalia trichophylla Bak. is a most unusual lachenalia and quite a curiosity. This species would be quite difficult to mistake as it has one or possibly two leaves that are covered with stellate hairs. Two forms have been identified, one having both short and long hairs, the other only having very short hairs. The leaves tend to lie on or just above the surface of the soil. The flowers on my plants are all well spaced on the peduncle and have distinct pedicels (stalks). The flower colour starts as pink near the base then white and finally yellow with green gibbosities. Flowering occurs from the fourth week in July to the third week in August. Information furnished by Don Journet. Photo taken by Bob Rutemoeller in the bulb room in the Conservatory at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in 2001 is a little blurry but at least gives an idea of this plant until a better one is available.