Hesperantha coccinea (Schizostylis coccinea)

Joe Shaw jshaw@opuntiads.com
Sun, 17 Dec 2006 08:18:47 PST
Hi Gang,

I'm looking for a trade, details at bottom of message.

Hesperantha/Schizostylis coccinea is a great plant for me.  I purchased a 
few rhizomes/corms 3-4 years ago from worldplants.com.  I have the 
scarlet-red form and it seems to like it here in Conroe, TX.   I didn't 
understand what the plants needed or how the grow in the wild, so I just put 
them in a pile of average soil that sits a bit higher than the rest of the 
plot.  Then, I forgot about them as native perennials covered them up.

In December of the first year, after a frost had nipped back much of the 
overgrowth, I saw the sword-like leaves emerging.  They were bright and 
happy all winter but I don't recall if they suffered from temperatures about 
23 F, if so they didn't suffer much.  In late winter or early spring they 
put on a very good show and eventually disappeared under the regrowth of 
summer plants.  This fall I decided to dig them up and put them in a 
different location because I will eventually replant their current mixed up 
soil pile garden menagerie.

When I examined the plants this week I was delighted to see seedlings coming 
up, I've never bothered to notice if the plants set seed.  It is possible 
that the small plants are from rhizomes; they are up to 12-15 inches away 
from the mother plant.  There are 8-12 little plants and the original clump 
is still a mannerly 5 inches across.

This week I read up on the plant and found that at least some folks grow it 
wet all the time and that it is a riverine plant in South Africa.  Then I 
found a note in the PBS archives describing H/C coccinea as a possibly 
invasive plant.  Sure enough, it is listed in the Global Compendium of 
Weeds.  Weed or not, my plant has not increased dramatically in 3-4 years 
but there is clearly potential for this plant to take off, perhaps if I had 
planted it in a more consistently moist area.

I'm going to move part of my clump to an area that stays more consistently 
wet over the summer, perhaps the plants will achieve the "large displays" 
described in some Web articles.  A quick Google indicates that there are 
pink-flowered, white-flowered, salmon-colored, and maybe even 
blood-red--flowered forms, and many named varieties.  If the species really 
does grow up to 2500 m in Nature, it might be quite cold hardy under some 

I'd like to trade for other colors.  Please contact me privately if you want 
the scarlet-red form.




LINK:  H/S coccinea at Plantzafrica


LINK:  Schizostylis/Hesperantha a confused genus (A. Kennedy, PBS Archives)


LINK:  Global Compendium of Weeds, S. coccinea


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