Lachenalia Species Two

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 from B to C are found on this page.


Lachenalia ALachenalia Species D-ILachenalia J-NLachenalia O-PLachenalia R-TLachenalia U-ZPolyxenaLachenalia index


Lachenalia bachmannii is found on the edges of seasonal pools in the Southwest Cape, blooming in early spring. It has white bell shaped flowers and two unmarked linear leaves. Although Graham Duncan describes it as not particularly attractive, I think it is very pretty. Photos by Mary Sue Ittner and Alan Horstmann.

Lachenalia bachmannii, Mary Sue IttnerLachenalia bachmannii, Alan Horstmann

Lachenalia bolusii is found on rocky outcrops in the northwestern Cape. It flowers in spring. This species has a single leaf that is banded maroon below and bell shaped pale blue and white nodding flowers. Photos by Mary Sue Ittner.

Lachenalia bolusii, Mary Sue IttnerLachenalia bolusii, Mary Sue IttnerLachenalia bolusii, Mary Sue Ittner

Lachenalia bulbifera (Cyrillo) Engl. Once sold under the synonym Lachenalia pendula this species has been the main commercial competitor of L. aloides species and cultivars. Its bright red pendulous flowers making a striking display particularly when planted in mass. The colour of the flowers varies from orange through scarlet to crimson and also varies in flower length and amount of purple and green on the tips of the outer perianth segments and on the slightly longer inner segments. The leaves also generally have dark green or purple marking on their broad surface. The bulbs of this species tend to be among the largest in the genera. Flowering for me has been from early June to early September over a number of plants and years. Description from Don Journet. This species is found on sandy slopes and flats, mainly coastal, in the winter rainfall areas and is one of the earlier ones to bloom, usually blooming in early winter. The first photo was taken by Ann of plants received from the PBS BX of 3/03, planted 3/28/03 and blooming 5/25/03. The second photo was taken by Mary Sue Ittner. Photos 3-5 photos from Cameron McMaster show the great variety of forms growing in habitat in different areas. The first two were taken in the Overberg, in Agulhas and Struisbaai. The last was taken in the west coast at Hopefield.

Lachenalia bulbifera, AnnLachenalia bulbifera, Mary Sue IttnerLachenalia bulbifera, Agulhas, Cameron McMasterLachenalia bulbifera, Struisbaai, Cameron McMasterLachenalia bulbifera, Hopefield, Cameron McMaster

Lachenalia campanulata is from a summer rainfall area, but grows in the winter blooming in summer and in habitat going dormant afterwards. It is often evergreen in cultivation. Photos from Cameron McMaster and Mary Sue Ittner

Lachenalia campanulata, Cameron McMasterLachenalia campanulata, Cameron McMasterLachenalia campanulata, Mary Sue Ittner

Lachenalia capensis W. F. Barker with its almost white scented flowers is certainly worthy of inclusion in a collection. During the life of the inflorescence there are a number of other pale colours that can be distinguished from the pale purple tips of the juvenile flowers to the very pale blue bases of the outer perianth segments and pale yellow of the gibbosities and aging outer perianth segments. The flowers become brown as they reach senescence. For me the flowering time has been quite short and late in the season being right at the end of October and the first three weeks of November. Description by Don Journet.


Lachenalia carnosa Bak. is a Namaqualand species found growing in rocks and on sandy flats between hills. It has two bright green ovate leaves with depressed longitudinal veins on the upper surface. Once known as L. ovatifolia this species has attractive small flowers in which the inner perianth segments are tipped with a broad magenta band. The outer segments are a sort of dirty white with a tinge of pale blue at the base and green gibbosities. The leaves are different to many Lachenalia in that they are broader and have pronounced depressed veins running their whole length. This is one of the species that I give extra drainage to by increasing the quantity of sharp sand in the potting mix. Flowering times extend from mid July to the end of September. Description from Don Journet. The first photo was taken by Kristina Van Wert is from the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens bulb collection. The next three photos below from Mary Sue Ittner illustrate the wonderful leaves of this plant and the remarkable buds which develop over a long time adding to the interest of this plant. Bulbs can get very large and so can the leaves.

Lachenalia carnosa, Kristina Van WertLachenalia carnosa, Mary Sue IttnerLachenalia carnosa, Mary Sue IttnerLachenalia carnosa, Mary Sue Ittner

Photos 1-4 from Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner show this species growing in the rocks in Namaqualand September 2006 and also show the variations in color of flower and leaves. Photo 5 was taken by Cameron McMaster September 2011.

Lachenalia carnosa, Namaqualand, Bob RutemoellerLachenalia carnosa, Namaqualand, Bob RutemoellerLachenalia carnosa, Namaqualand, Bob RutemoellerLachenalia carnosa, Namaqualand, Mary Sue IttnerLachenalia carnosa, Carolusberg, Cameron McMaster

Lachenalia comptonii has one or two hairy leaves and a white bell shaped scented flower with exserted stamens with purple filaments. It is found on sandy flats and blooms in the spring. Photo by Bob Rutemoeller of the flowers and photo by Mary Sue Ittner of the hairy leaves. A third photo was taken by Alan Horstmann.

Lachenalia comptonii, Bob RutemoellerLachenalia comptonii leaves, Mary Sue IttnerLachenalia comptonii, Alan Horstmann

Lachenalia congesta is a dwarf species from Sutherland and Calvinia. It has two prostrate leaves and strong scented pale flowers. The first two photos were taken by Alan Horstmann and Rod Saunders. The third photo was taken September 2011 by Cameron McMaster near Middelpos in the [[Roggeveld].

Lachenalia congesta, Alan HorstmannLachenalia congesta, Rod SaundersLachenalia congesta, Middelpos, Camerom McMaster

Lachenalia contaminata has bell-shaped white flowers with brown or red markings. It is found in wet places in the winter rainfall areas. In the first photo by Bob Rutemoeller it is shown with Pelargonium incrassatum which was blooming at the same time. The second photo taken by Mary Sue Ittner shows the leaves too. The third photo was taken by Arnold Trachtenberg at Wave Hill. Photos 4-5 were taken by Cameron McMaster of plants growing and blooming in habitat in the Overberg. The first photo was taken at Boskloof and the second at Bredasdorp.

Lachenalia contaminata, Pelargonium incrassatum, Bob RutemoellerLachenalia contaminata, Mary Sue IttnerLachenalia contaminata, Arnold TrachtenbergLachenalia contaminata, Boskloof, Cameron McMasterLachenalia contaminata, Bredasdorp, Cameron McMaster

Photos by Pamela Slate showing fasciation of buds.

Lachenalia contaminata, 6th February 2015, Pamela SlateLachenalia contaminata, 18th February 2015, Pamela SlateLachenalia contaminata,  18th February 2015, Pamela SlateLachenalia contaminata,  27th February 2015, Pamela SlateLachenalia contaminata,  27th February 2015, Pamela Slate

Lachenalia ALachenalia Species D-ILachenalia J-NLachenalia O-PLachenalia R-TLachenalia U-ZPolyxenaLachenalia index


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