Mystery Massonia

Sun, 20 Apr 2008 12:38:01 PDT
Unless her views have changed in recent years, Alison van der Merwe, the
most recent (SA) researcher to have a close look at Massonia, regards M.
hirsuta as a distinct species (she includes M. sessiliflora as a synonym of
it as I recall).  Some relevant comments by her can be found here:…

If one accepts Mueller-Doblies' narrow morphological concept of M.
echinata and as being localized around Vanrhynsdorp it becomes impossible,
to my mind, to reconcile it as conspecific with material from further east,
i.e., M. hirsuta. I have not had the opportunity to see these plants in the
wild but upon growing several dozen wild origin accessions in this genus,
and being desirous of proper names for them, it became apparent that the
circumscription of M. echinata was the real bugaboo in the genus.

There is a very nice thread of photos from the Wisley Alpine Log (8 Nov
2007) (just search under "Massonia/hirsuta") and it depicts most of the
massonias known in cultivation. The photo of M. hirsuta is of juvenile
plants, not characteristic of mature plants of this species as I know it,
but there is a very good illustration of M. echinata that accords well with
plants I have grown from Vanrhynsdorp.

Dylan Hannon

On 4/20/08, Rhoda and Cameron McMaster <> wrote:
> In response to the last batch of corespondence on the Mystery Massonia
> John Grimshaw and I have seen the same plant at the same time of the year
> above Tiffendell near Ben MacDui.  I was just fortunate to see it in flower,
> and have forwarded pictures for posting.
> Massonia hirsutus is no longer recognised as a species.  It is not listed
> in the latest checklist of Plants of Southern Africa (2003) edited by G
> Germishuizen and Meyer.  Only six Massonia species are listed in this
> checklist:
> M. depressa, M echinata, M. jasminiflora, M. pustulata,  M pygmaea (two
> sub-species) and M. sessiliflora
> I believe all these are winter growing species.
> Cameron McMaster
> African Bulbs
> PO Box 26, Napier 7270
> Tel/Fax: 028 423 3651
> Mobile: 082 774 2075
> Email:
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