Brunsvigia grandiflora seed

Mary Sue Ittner
Sat, 11 Oct 2003 10:38:39 PDT
Dear All,

First off I want to remind everyone that Bill Dijk in New Zealand flowers 
this plant as he has added a picture to the wiki:…
Bill if you are reading this perhaps you can tell us how you have succeeded 
with it and how long it took from seed to flower.

Thanks to Dirk for advising us that even though this plant is from a 
predominantly summer rainfall area it grows in winter. The Bulbous Plants 
of Southern Africa book says it is summer growing and I guess I didn't look 
any further and just thought my plants were adapting to my Mediterranean 

Dirk's comment caused me to go rummaging through my old IBSA bulletins as I 
recalled Rhoda had written an article in the 2000 year bulletin entitled 
Some Bulbous Oxymoronaceae. This "family" she has created is for bulbs that 
have a winter-related growth habit when they are found naturally in an area 
where rainfall occurs mainly in summer. They grow in the winter and are 
dormant in summer and have acclimatized to a warm wet summer and a dryish 
frosty winter. Bulbs in the area where she used to live (Stutterheim) that 
fell in this category are Freesia laxa, Ixia orientalis, Moraea 
unguiculata, Hesperantha falcata, Massonia jasminiflora, Lachenalia 
campanulata, Veltheimia bracteata, Ornithogalum thyrsoides, Haemanthus 
coccineus, and Strumaria gemmata.

In her next paragraph she refers to a group of plants in the Amaryllidaeae 
that have not quite made up their minds whether they want to belong to the 
Oxymoronaceae or not. In this category she places Brunsvigia gregaria, 
Brunsvigia grandiflora and Haemanthus montanus. In Stutterheim the leaves 
of these three appear in January, halfway between spring and autumn. The 
Brunsvigia species flower between January and March (summer to autumn), the 
leaves persist into late winter and then die off in late spring and stay 
dormant for the rest of the time. They sit solemnly through wet heavy 
showers in summer and cannot be enticed to sprout earlier. She advised a 
light sprinkling during early summer when they are dormant.

My Pooley books say for distribution scattered in grassland, 1200-3200 
meters Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, and the Free State. So maybe Dawie can 
tell us about the ones in the Free State. By the way for those interested 
in common names this one is called the Giant Candelabra Flower.

Thanks for all those who have reported that their seeds are coming along 
just fine in spite of all their journeys. I hope more of you will report as 
well. Rhoda would have postponed the time they normally would have been 
germinating by refrigerating them and I am still guessing they would be 
sending down a radicle when the soil would be dry which doesn't make any 
sense to me. When we visited Stutterheim in late winter two years ago it 
looked extremely dry, just like it does in California in the fall before it 
starts to rain. So does that make this Brunsvigia and B. gregaria seed more 
adaptable and able to last longer before they get moisture or are 
Brunsvigia seeds that that way? I know they get some rainfall in winter so 
perhaps a little is enough.

Thanks Paul for your interesting observations about Amaryllid seed.

In Northern coastal California my Brunsvigia grandiflora plants from seed 
started in February 2000 that have been subjected to at least two years of 
50+ inches of rain in winter and occasionally sprinklings but mostly dry 
summers have just this week emerged. So this one may be a very adaptable plant.

Mary Sue

Mary Sue Ittner
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers

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