Albuca TOW

Rachel Saunders
Mon, 07 Jul 2003 08:14:15 PDT
I am not sure about the non South African species of Albuca, but it is often
difficult to differentiate our SA species from Ornithogalum species.  In
many the seeds are very similar (flat black discs) , the flowers are
similar, and we cannot even decide which genus they should be in!  John
Manning gave us an interesting talk about them recently, and he and many
other botanists are beginning to think that the 2 genera are muddled at
present, and they need re-arranging. Some Ornithogalums are very different -
eg O thyrsoides and dubium, which have tiny black seeds.  But others are
not.  I think that DNA work on them has shown a big group of related
species, and some more distant.  So it sounds as though there may be a
"lumping and splitting"  in their taxonomy soon!
There are quite a few uninteresting species, but there are also some
beauties, and it is a pity to dismiss them all as "not worth growing".
There are not many people in the Cape who grow them, and I feel they deserve
more attention.

I agree with  Alberto - we discard all our seed after 12 months  - the same
with Drimias  and  Ornithogalums.  None of them keep well.

Rachel Saunders
Cape Town

----- Original Message -----
From: Alberto Castillo <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, July 07, 2003 2:00 PM
Subject: [pbs] Albuca TOW

> Dear Julian et al:
>                       Excellent introduction as always, Julian. I would
> that seed of albucas has proved useless when old and I suspect that it is
> among those genera that must be sown very fresh. On the contrary, fresh
> will produce a whole 100% germination, often resulting in far too many
> seedlings!
> Albuca is  a totally neglected genus and some of them like
> clamwilliamigloria, spiralis and nelsonii are stunning plants. The
> undisputed Albuca King is Frank Holford and he has grown Albucas for long
> and even obtained very interesting hybrids. Perhaps the reason for this is
> that we see in books and guides one or two species only, mostly flaccida
> canadense) that is not really breathtaking but variation within the genus
> great.
> Regards
> Alberto
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