Albuca spiralis

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Thu, 28 Dec 2017 15:52:28 PST
Cape Plants lists the flowering times for Albuca spiralis (in South 
Africa) as August to October (translating to February to May in the 
Northern hemisphere). It is described as found on sandy and stony slopes 
in the Northwest and Southwest Capes. Albuca namaquensis' flowering time 
is September to October and is is found on stony sandstone slopes but 
over a wider distribution (Namibia to the Eastern Cape.) The flowering 
time for Leo's plants is very curious. Some of the places that both of 
these species grow in nature get very little rainfall and what they get 
is mostly in winter so they should be able to survive a dry dormancy. I 
have grown Albuca namaquensis for years in the same pot. I expect I 
haven't even fertilized it much. It generally comes into growth in 
September or October and flowers anytime between February and May. After 
it dies down I don't water until I see signs of life. Sometimes the 
leaves curl and sometimes not, but I don't have a lot of light in my 
winter garden because of all the trees. Some people think that people 
who think they are growing A. spiralis are really growing A. 
namaquensis. According to the key in the Color Encyclopedia:
1 leaves hairy or glandular hairy, at least on the margins and often 
twisted or coiled
A. namaquensis leaves are eglandular
A. spiralis leaves are glandular

There is another plant in this category, A. hallii. It has glandular 
leaves, but they are relatively short and obtuse with more or less 
sessile glands and a smooth peduncle whereas A. spiralis has a hairy 
peduncle and tapering leaves with slender stalked glands. Interestingly 
A. hallii flowers March to May (September to November in the Northern 
Hemisphere.) It is also found on stony slopes from southern Namibia to 
Little Karoo. So all three species grow in a similar habitat and the 
same area. It would seem easy to mix them up.

Mary Sue

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