Mary Sue Ittner
Tue, 29 Oct 2002 22:11:45 PST
Dear All,

It looks like I am going to have two pots of blooming Massonia pustulata this year. I only once before had one bloom so I am thrilled. One of the things I find so fascinating about so many geophytes is how their leaves change from year to year. Think about how Cyclamen leaves develop and become more colorful. Three or four of my Massonia pustulata bulbs are going to have pustules for the first time this year. The others are still smooth. One of them has pustules and is purplish and the others green. This year it looks like they need more room as they are going to cover the pot.

I have a Polyxena blooming already that was from seed identified as Polyxena ensifolia, but they don't look at all like others I have grown by that name. They have almost linear leaves and one or two white to pinkish flowers right at the bottom where the two leaves divide. Dirk told me he thought they could be Polyxena longituba, but this is not one of the five spp. listed in the winter-rainfall area in Cape Plants. So often you see seed of Polyxena listed as Polyxena sp. #1, #2, etc. Does anyone know where you can learn more about this genus? Is anyone in South Africa working on it?

After I wrote the above I looked at Google where I probably should have looked first and found the following

On David Fenwick's page I found a picture that looks like the one I am growing

And a Google search landed the information below which would explain why this species is not listed in Cape Plants since Namaqualand seems to be excluded. I suppose that means I should shelter it from our rain. How do you grow it Dave? I am not sure Dirk is online these days, but if so I'd like to hear from him too.

A new species of Polyxena (Hyacinthaceae, tribe Massonieae) from Komsberg, Northern Cape Province

AM van der Merwe and EM Marais*

Department of Botany, University of Stellenbosch, Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa

* Corresponding author, e-mail

Received: 15 November 1999, accepted in revised form 23 August 2000

Polyxena longituba AM vd Merwe, from Komsberg in the Northern Cape Province is described as a new species. It resembles P. corymbosa (L.) Jessop, with regard to flower shape and colour but is distinguished by its long perianth tube and involute, canaliculate leaves. The flowers close at night and the species is self-pollinating.

South African Journal of Botany 67 (1) 2001, 47-52
(c)2001 NISC Pty Ltd,

Now tomorrow I'll have to look at the flowers again and try to figure out what canaliculate means.

Mary Sue
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