Strumaria is a genus of plants from southern Africa in the Amaryllidaceae family. These are often small plants, many of them very rare. Strumaria species are capable of self fertilization and are found in Namibia, South Africa, and Lesotho. Strumaria is a good species to grow in pots and relatively quick to grow from seed in contrast to some of the larger South African Amaryllids. For more information see D.A. Snijman's Systematics of Hessea, Strumaria and Carpolyza.
Strumaria aestivalis is endemic to one locality in the foothills northwest of Loeriesfontein. It is summer-flowering (January in habitat) and responds rapidly to scattered thunder-showers. Flowers are produced prior to appearance of leaves. It is most similar to S. pubescens in having extremely pubescent leaves. However, the flowers in this species are more spreading. Photos #1-4 were taken by Nhu Nguyen. Photo #5 was taken by Jacob Uluwehi Knecht.
Strumaria chaplinii is found on granite outcrops in the southwest Cape. It flowers March-April before the leaves. Growing to 20 cm, it has two prostrate elliptical to oblong leaves that are covered with long, soft, erect hairs. The flowers are star shaped, white with red or green midribs. Photo by Hans Joschko.
Strumaria discifera is a species of the northwest Cape and the Roggeveld. It has hairy long, narrow lanceolate leaves usually dry at flowering and star-shaped glistening white flowers with channeled tepals with an olive-green to pink median dorsal stripe on each tepal. It has a bulbiform to discoid swelling at the base of the style. Flowering is in the fall. There are two subspecies.
Strumaria discifera ssp. bulbifera is a clumping subspecies found on slopes and hollows of low exposed dolerite ridges on the Bokkeveld Plateau. It has a disc like swelling around the style with a frilly rim. Photos by Leo Martin added to the Mystery Bulbs page received as another genus, but tentatively identified as this subspecies are pictured below.
Photos below from Mary Sue Ittner taken December 2011.
Strumaria discifera ssp. discifera is found on clay flats in the Northwest Cape and the Roggeveld. It is usually found in scattered populations of solitary bulbs. The swelling around the style is smooth. Photo from Hans Joschko.
Strumaria gemmata is the only species in the genus with pale lemon yellow flowers. It is confined to semi-arid regions in the southern, south-eastern and eastern regions of the Cape Province. It has two laves that are usually dry at flowering, recurved to prostrate, softly hairy or rarely smooth. First photo by Diana Chapman. The second photo is a close-up of a single flower, while the third is of the furry foliage - both from Jacob Uluwehi Knecht. The last two photos are from Hans Joschko showing variation in the foliage from different seed sources.
Strumaria karooica is from the Roggeveld where it inhabits flat, clayey sites, usually near rocks. It grows to 20 cm high and has two leaves that are dry at flowering. Flowers are star shaped, pale pink with dark red dorsal midribs on long spreading pedicels. Bloom time is fall. Photos by Diana Chapman and Mary Sue Ittner. The form that Mary Sue grows has suberect leaves even though the ones in the field usually have leaves appressed to the ground. The tepals do not show the undulating edges that Diana's plants have, but do illustrate the deeper pink stripe on the back of the tepals, the darker pink buds and aging flowers, and dark pink to wine red anthers before opening.
Strumaria leipoldtii is found on sandstone rock ledges in loamy soils in the northwest Cape. It grows to 15 cm high and has star shaped white flowers with green or pink midribs on spreading pedicels that are 10 to 20 mm in diameter. Photo by Alessandro Marinello.
Strumaria picta is characterized by the campanulate flowers, backed with a wine red stripe and with a deep red scape. It is from the Nieuwoudtville district in the western Cape, where it inhabits flats or gentle slopes. Photos by Diana Chapman.
Strumaria pubescens is native to the Roggeveld where it grows on steep south facing slopes in clayey soil. It is a moderately sized plant with very fuzzy leaves and funnel-shaped flowers. Photo by Nhu Nguyen taken at the UC Botanical Garden.
Strumaria salteri grows in sandstone rock crevices in the northwest Cape. Growing to 25 cm, it has prostrate strap shaped to elliptical leaves with minutely fringed margins and glistening pink flowers with reddish pink central bands. It flowers in May before the leaves. Photos from Hans Joschko.
Strumaria spiralis (formerly Carpolyza spiralis) grows in seasonally wet flats and rock crevices from the Cape Peninsula to the Karoo, blooming from May to August. It grows to 15 cm and has one to four small white to pale pink flowers. Photos Alessandro Marinello.
Strumaria tenella is found both in winter and summer rainfall areas. It is a small plant with star shaped white to pink flowers. It is separated from all other species of Strumaria by flowering synchronously with its filiform leaves. There are two subspecies:
Strumaria tenella ssp. orientalis has white flowers and blooms in the fall and is found only in dolerite outcrops in the southeastern Free State and Lesotho. It is locally abundant. The spathe valves are green, turning brown. Anthers are green. Lower 2/3 of style swollen. Photos 1-3 below from Rob Hamilton of the first flowering in March 2005 from seed sowed June 2003. It has never gone dormant in this period. The early flowering habit and the dome shaped style as seen on the right hand flower of the first image, suggest that this is ssp. orientalis; however, the spathe valve and anther color suggest that it is ssp. tenella. In the third picture it is already setting seed. The last two photos were taken by Mary Sue Ittner. Plants were grown from seed furnished by Rob. The color of the anthers does not fit the description in Snijiman's book, but the bloom time is correct, the spathe valve was green, and the style corresponds more closely to the drawings in her book for this subspecies.
Strumaria tenella ssp. tenella has white to pink flowers and is found in seasonally damp flats in a number of the winter rainfall areas of South Africa. It blooms April-July in the wild (the equivalent blooming season would be October-January in the northern hemisphere). The spathe valves are pink, turning brown. Anthers are wine-red. Styles are swollen into an irregular hexahedron. Photo #1 was taken in 2006 by Lee Poulsen. This is its first bloom from seeds obtained from Silverhill Seeds and planted in the fall of 2002. It is tiny--tinier than I was expecting. I almost didn't notice it was blooming. It is still in the 4-inch square container I started the seeds in and the label in the background is 1/2-inch X 4 inches in size. But it sure is a pretty little flower. Photo #2 was taken by Nhu Nguyen showing the typical style of this subspecies.
Strumaria truncata is found on stony or loamy flats in dry parts of the winter rainfall area of South Africa, Namaqualand to Bokkeveld Plateau and western Karoo. The bulbs will actually be ok in small pots. Nhu Nguyen grows his in terra cotta pots and a very well drained mix with a bit of slow release fertilizer. The first photo was taken by Cameron McMaster of plants flowering in May 2006. The second photo is from Alan Horstmann. The last photo was taken by Michael Mace of a plant growing in California.
Photos 1-4 were taken by Nhu Nguyen showing the white form of this species. The first two photos are of Nhu's plant. The last two were taken at the UC Botanical Garden showing the whole plant and the fantastic fan-like leaves.