Is this normal for Haemanthus nortieri?

Michael Benedito
Tue, 12 Jan 2010 11:19:16 PST
> From: J.E. Shields <>
> Michael,
> That does not look like my plant of Haemanthus
> nortieri.  
> (...)
> Neither my bulb of H. nortieri nor Graham Duncan's much
> older bulb of 
> nortieri, at Kirstenbosch in Cape Town, has ever
> bloomed.  I guess you 
> could say that not blooming is the main trait your
> Haemanthus has in common 
> with nortieri (that's a joke).  You don't have
> nortieri.

Dear Mr. Jim

I apologise for sounding a bit presumptuous regarding the ID of the plant. You are totally right,I have no idea of what species it might be. But I've been observing its morphological features for a while, and it matches H. nortieri characteristics more than any other taxon of that genus. Of course the bibliography regarding the whole genus is very scarce, and I might be wrong... I´m also no expert on this family at all, very far from that, but this identification I made is just a thought.

> (...)What it actually is would be hard to say until it
> blooms.  At a guess, you 
> have Haemanthus coccineus.  H. coccineus will
> eventually bloom for you, and 
> then should bloom almost every year from then on.  It
> does make a very 
> attractive plant and inflorescence, but it is not
> rare.

I agree with you again. Perhaps H. nortieri is so rare that only the specialists are able to supply it with the conditions it needs and it is not a suitable thing for young amateurs, like me, to grow. But actually I enjoy growing plants mainly for their beauty and not because they are rare or a collector's item. There are so many species that are somehow common, but equally beautiful, like these four Scadoxus puniceus that i sew when i was 8 y old and are just about to bloom :)…

Anyway, since the supposed H. nortieri might be H. coccineus, then I guess the plant i have labbeled as H. coccineus might be something else. I am not aware at all of the variability of this species in the wild, but it must be quite variable as both plants are so different regarding their vegetative growth. Perhaps I must wait for the blooms to get an accurate ID.

> On my plant the 
> single leaf stands quite erectly, straight up.  Its
> surface is slightly 
> sticky or tacky, and bits of dust, sand, etc., stick to
> it.  The leaf is 
> somewhat succulent as well.

I had never touched the leaves of my plant but they are quite shiny, and with some degree of succulence. Now i do not remember the leaves being covered with dust particles. I think it the rain washes them away, as it's been raining for a while here. I have enclosed a few links to pictures that I took today (I'm sorry for their quality but its getting dark already, so I had to use the flash).

This is a close up of the bigger leaf (I would describe the surface as minutely scaberulous:…

A detail of the base of the leafblade (note the dark reddish colour it bears, as the other pictures labelled as H. nortieri on the internet also have the same feature)…

Another detail (there are a few potting mix particles attached to the leaf base indeed, but I guess this is because of the rain droplets when they hit the soil and splash, but I could be wrong and the leaf is really sticky)…

Now the plant seen from other angle…

From above, on the right is the plant I labelled as H. coccineus and on the left the supposed H. nortieri.…

A detail of the leaf of H. coccineus…

And here the tendency that the leaves show to get prostrated. They are still emerging, but i reckon from last year that they do get sharply prostrated at ground level, but i do not have any pictures though.…

Kind regards


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