Ammocharis longifolia

Ammocharis longifolia (L.) Herb. (syn. Cybistetes longifolia (L.) Milne-Redh. & Schweick.) was once considered to be a single species in the genus Cybistetes. It is a winter growing species found on sandy or gravelly flats in the northwest and southwest Cape of South Africa to Namibia. In the wild, they bloom during the summer months with the latest flowers appearing in the higher rainfall areas. The bulbs are large, giving rise to leaves that are spreading and arranged in a rosette, with a cutoff appearance when mature. The inflorescence grow up to 30 cm (12 inches) high and may carry up to 20 flowers, coloured from ivory to deep pink and strongly scented. The flowers are about 3 inches (7 cm) long, almost as wide, and strongly reflexed. The during fruiting, the pedicels elongate, stiffen and spread, and radiate outward, turning the whole thing into a tumbling seed-head that drops seeds as the capsules open as it rolls. They prefer a well drained sandy soil with the bulb neck planted at soil surface and dry summers. For more information about this species, see the SANBI reference.

The photo below was taken in habitat by Andrew Harvie showing the leaves in the Tienie Versfeld Reserve near Darling, western Cape, South Africa.

Ammocharis longifolia leaves, Tienie Versfeld Reserve, Andrew Harvie

Photos 1-2 were taken by Bill Dijk. The flowers of the first plant pictured below open whitish and then become pink-flushed, while the ivory coloured one often remains the same colour or fades to very pale pink.

Ammocharis longifolia, Bill DijkAmmocharis longifolia, Bill Dijk

The photos below were taken by Andrew Harvie. Photos four to six show the first flowering in his Australian garden in 2011 from a 2000 sowing. This is an opportunistic plant and he suspects it was responding to a week of summer rain.

Ammocharis longifolia, Andrew HarvieAmmocharis longifolia, Andrew HarvieAmmocharis longifolia, Andrew Harvie

The photos below were taken by Nhu Nguyen at the UC Botanical Garden during October.

Ammocharis longifolia, UCBG, Nhu NguyenAmmocharis longifolia, UCBG, Nhu NguyenAmmocharis longifolia, UCBG, Nhu NguyenAmmocharis longifolia, UCBG, Nhu NguyenAmmocharis longifolia, UCBG, Nhu Nguyen

The photo below by M. Gastil-Buhl shows a bulb on a 1 cm grid that weighs 56 g and is 9 cm tall with a 4 cm diameter, grown by Mary Sue Ittner from Silverhill seed. At least 7 years old, it has not yet bloomed, possibly due to cool climate or low light.

Ammocharis longifolia, M. Gastil-Buhl

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