Nerine TOW

Cameron McMaster
Fri, 02 May 2003 03:52:54 PDT
Some comments on the E. Cape Nerine species from Cameron McMaster:

Nerine alta - from wetlands in the Kei Road, Stutterheim and Cathcart areas. Petals very fine tending to role into tubes but strongly crisped giving the impression of a very dainty, spidery flower. Darker pink than undulata, otherwise similar leaves and flowering time.  Supposed to be a variety of N. undulata but I feel is very distincrive both in appearance and habitat preference.  Flowers late April.  N. alta does not multiply vegetatively and must be grown from seed to increase numbers.

Nerine appendiculata - I have found this is vleis (wet areas) in the Elliot and Ugie districts. We also came across it in the Weza forest, southern KZ-Natal, along stream beds at the end of April when it was still fresh in flower. There were no leaves at the time. 

Nerine angulata - from damp spots and seepage areas on the high altitude summits of the Amatola and Bosberg mountains from Stutterheim and Cathcart to Somerset East. There is an occasional pure white specimen. Occurs thickly in vast numbers making magnificent and unforgettable displays. Leaves filiform but robust and long - tending to be almost evergreen and occurring with flowers (Somerset East specimens have more robust leaves than Stutterheim specimens and flower at least three weeks earlier). Seed are egg-shaped. Flowers in late March to early April - very distinct large flower with upper petals arranged vertically in a fan shape. Regarded as a variety of N. angustifolia (N. angustifolia we have from Mpumalanga flowers in December and occurs about 800 kms away!)

Nerine flexuosa - have observed this on the southern aspect of the Bosberg near Somerset East where it occurs in well drained peaty soil on steep slopes in fairly thick fynbos type vegetation. It is one of the last to flower in the Eastern Cape - sometimes into June. It is almost evergreen with leaves broad, flat and long. Flowers are large, almost as big as bowdenii, but shorter petals and very pale pink. Regarded as another form of N. undulata, with which I cannot agree. The habitat, and shape of flower and petal are different. 

It could be however that the broad-leaf nerines of the Eastern Cape represent a cline with the eastern extreme being N. alta with its dainty fine petals; N. undulata in the central areas; and the western extreme being N. flexuosa with its larger flowers and broad petals. If all the colonies in between were to be studied, it may be that we would find a gradual merging of the species from one to the other. 

Nerine filamentosa - A very distinct species with a limited range in the Cathcart district and a very specific and fairly dry habitat. It prefers dolerite outcrops where it grows in full sun in extreme conditions in shallow soil in the rock fissures. Fine filiform leaves, deciduous and with large flowers relative to the leaves arranged in a sparse, flattened umbel with strongly recurved petals and extremely long filaments. Flowers from early February.

Nerine filifolia - occurs widely in various spots in the East Cape always in massed populations between rock slabs or in shallow soil overlaying rock. Flowers in April and is almost evergreen. Filiform leaves.

Nerine gibsoni - I have observed this in the highlands between Lady Frere and Cala in Transkei but its habitat is severely degraded and I think it is doomed to extinction. It is remarkable in that the colour varies from pure white to almost purple with all the shades of pink in between - with no shade dominant. Leaves filiform, more robust than N. filifolia. Flowers of a similar shape and size to N. angulata. 

Nerine masoniorum - It occurs in similar habitats to N filifolia but 200-300km further east beyond Umtata in the former Transkei.  I have not seen it in the wild, but it is the earliest to flower, from late January. Bulbs multiply profusely.  Small flower head and filiform leaves.

Nerine undulata - The typical form occurs in the Adelaide and Bedford districts.It is remarkably different to N. alta in the flower and petal shape as well as bulb development but leaves are similar. Petals are broad and shortish with strongly crisped margins - usually paler pink than N. alta. Flowers in late April/May (autumn). Natural habitat is usually on steep slopes near shady forest verges, whereas N. alta grows in marshes usually in full sun. Almost evergreen with leaves dying back at flowering time but emerging soon after. Bulbs multiply profusely. 

Varieties of Nerine undulata occur over a wide area in the Eastern Cape with varying habitats and  flowering times.  There is a robust form  in dry Valley Bushveld on the Ecca Pass near Grahamstown.  This form which flowers in late July (winter), grows in shale and has short broad leaves which form a low rosette close to the ground (the leaves are not upright).  Another form occurs on stream banks in the Great Kei River bush and flowers in August.  The last Nerine to flower in our region is a form of N. undulata from forest margins and streams near the coast in the Kei Mouth area.  This form only flowers in September (early spring) - a very unsual flowering time for a Nerine in South Africa.

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