Scilla natalensis

Greg Pettit
Fri, 28 Mar 2003 10:00:39 PST

If you take into account that frost and/or snow contain moisture and that we
do get rain in winter, then NOT letting the soil get too dry is a must.

The biggest Scilla natalensis I have ever seen are growing on the cliffs
above the tar road at Oliviershoek Pass.  There are three about the size of
a rugby ball hanging over the road.

In 1996 the Wildlife Society of South Africa (Natal Branch) tried to prevent
the indigenous people from looting the wild populations by offering them
100-250mm diam bulbs at a very low price (under 7 US cents each).  I was
also offered the chance to purchase from Mbona Mountain Estates (but at a
First World price).  All my damaged bulbs were handed to the indigenous
gatherers in the hope we could get them to slow down.  It was still easier
to pay indigent women to wild-harvest than to go to Mbona and legally
harvest, so after three years the Natal Conservation Department and the
Wildlife Society called it a day.

Some of the Scilla I collected were in the form of "blankets".  These
blankets of solid bulbs often numbered over 250 per clump.  Clumps or
blankets are now at Transvaal and Natal botanical gardens and make
impressive shows in Spring.


More information about the pbs mailing list