Veltheimia bracteata vs. capensis

Mary Sue Ittner
Sat, 09 Apr 2005 08:24:23 PDT
Dear Tsuh Yang,

In the Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs key:

Leaves glossy dark green, seldom all deciduous; bulb tunics fleshy; bracts 
10-30 mm long, spring flowering = V. bracteata

Leaves glaucous or grayish, deciduous; outer bulb tunics papery; bracts 
10-15 mm long; autumn and winter flowering = V. capensis

Looking over the wiki I see that a lot of our pictures don't really show 
the leaves so have added a picture my husband took of my plants in bloom in 
March 2003. And I've tried to improve the text a bit to explain the 
New picture:…

I think when we started this list and decided to create a wiki as a place 
to add pictures instead of creating a separate image list where attachments 
were allowed, we never anticipated what a resource it would become. I have 
had the strange experience of getting emails from people who do not know me 
who reference a wiki picture as "the authority." In a couple of instances 
the picture has been one my husband or I took! Knowing people look to it to 
help them figure out a plant is a good reason to include many different 
aspects of the plants in our pictures for the wiki (leaves, storage organs, 
whole plant), in addition to close-ups of the flowers. Habitat pictures are 
great too as often plants in cultivation can look very different and 
besides it gives you an idea of where they grow which can help you figure 
out what they might need to be successful. And text is extremely helpful too.

The Veltheimia bracteata I grow is so different from V. capensis that they 
are easy to tell apart. One has shiny green leaves and the other one dull 
silver gray leaves. I've not gotten blooms from V. capensis and suspect 
I'll have much more trouble getting it to thrive for me even though it is 
from a winter rainfall area and V. bracteata from an area where rainfall 
occurs in summer or year round. My winters are really wetter than V. 
capensis likes and since it needs a lot of sun to bloom, sheltering it 
doesn't work very well either. On the other hand I can leave V. bracteata 
on a open covered porch where the wind blows a bit of rain on it, but where 
it is protected from the worst of our storms and hail and I can appreciate 
the gorgeous shiny leaves which return in fall and the long blooming time. 
I thank Bill Dijk and Doug Westfall for turning me on to this plant which 
is one of my favorites! If this is what you have Rand, I predict you are 
going to be very happy.

Mary Sue

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