Babiana

Babiana is a large genus in the family Iridaceae. Most of these species are concentrated in the southwestern Cape, with the rest mainly in Namaqualand and northern Cape. Their range is from southern Namibia to the Eastern Cape to southern Zimbabwe. There was one species from Socotra, Babiana socotrana, off the coast of Somalia, but it is now considered to be Cyanixia socotrana, the sole species in the genus Cyanixia.

All babianas are deciduous, either winter or summer growing. Most are winter growing. Like most other winter growing (or Mediterranean climate) irids, they start their growth cycle in autumn when the first rains fall. The leaves push through the soil and the plants grow. They grow through the winter, and as spring approaches, they produce flower buds. Some species flower early in spring, and others late, almost into summer. Most species are in seed in early summer, and as the rains finish and the weather heats up, they go dormant again. To successfully grow them, one needs to remember this growth cycle. Start to water them in autumn, water through the winter, and stop in late spring when the plants show signs of going dormant. They will do best in a sunny aspect with free air circulation. The plants are drought tolerant and they vary in hardiness, but probably will not like anything below 25 °F (about -5 °C).

Growing medium - they all require well drained potting medium consisting of 2 parts sand, 1 part loam and perhaps 1 part compost, depending on the species. Because of the contractile roots, babianas pull their corms to the bottom of the pot, and they grow best in large pots (12 inch or more). some between paving stones (in a similar situation to their natural growth habit) and although our garden is watered year round, they don't seem to rot and they flower profusely each spring. Our garden soil is very sandy and well drained, and perhaps that explains it. Most of the babianas that are commonly grown are hybrids, mainly of Babiana stricta, but many of the species are far more beautiful and rewarding. The flowers are long lasting and brightly coloured, and many are scented as a bonus. Above information furnished by Rachel Saunders when she led the Pacific Bulb Society list discussion for the topic of the week in April 2003. This genus was revised in 2007 by Peter Goldblatt and John C. Manning.

Babianas can expand and bloom in mass in garden situations to their liking. The first photo shows babianas growing in Mary Sue Ittner's Northern California garden and the second and third photos from Liz Waterman and Nhu Nguyen shows many blooming in the UC Botanical Garden. The last photo from Mary Sue Ittner shows an opening fruit with seed.

Babianas, Mary Sue IttnerBabiana spp., Liz WatermanBabiana species, UCBG, Nhu NguyenBabiana seed, Mary Sue Ittner

For photos and information of species select the appropriate wiki page:

or click on the name in the table below:


Babiana species
Babiana ambigua, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana ambigua
Babiana angustifolia, Darling, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana angustifolia
Babiana blanda, Rod Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana blanda
Babiana cedarbergensis, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana cedarbergensis
Babiana cuneata, Komsberg, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana cuneata
Babiana flabellifolia, Alan Horstmann [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
*Babiana cuneifolia
Babiana curviscapa, Namaqualand, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana curviscapa
Babiana fragrans, Bainskloof, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
* Babiana disticha
Babiana dregei, Namaqualand, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana dregei
Babiana ecklonii, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana ecklonii
Babiana flabellifolia, Alan Horstmann [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana flabellifolia
Babiana fragrans, Bainskloof, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana fragrans
Babiana framesii, Nieuwoudtville, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana framesii
Babiana hirsuta, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana hirsuta
Image not available [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana hypogaea
Babiana inclinata, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana inclinata
Babiana karooica, Jan and Anne Lise Schutte-Vlok [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana karooica
Image not available [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana leipoldtii
Babiana lineolata, Kouebokkeveld, Rachel Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana lineolata
Babiana melanops, Rod Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana melanops
Babiana montana, Napier, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana montana
Babiana mucronata, Rod Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana mucronata
Babiana nana, Alan Horstmann [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana nana
Babiana noctiflora, Rod Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana noctiflora
Babiana odorata, Rod Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana odorata
Babiana patersoniae, Bredasdorp, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana patersoniae
Babiana patula, Napier, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana patula
Babiana praemorsa, Nieuwoudtville, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana praemorsa
Babiana purpurea, Bot River, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana purpurea
Babiana pygmaea, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana pygmaea
Babiana radiata, Jan and Anne Lise Schutte-Vlok [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana radiata
Babiana regia, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana regia
Babiana ringens, Rod Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana ringens
Babiana rubella, Alan Horstmann [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana rubella
Babiana rubrocyanea, Sheila Burrow [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana rubrocyanea
Babiana salteri, Alan Horstmann [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana salteri
Babiana sambucina, Rod Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana sambucina
Babiana scariosa, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana scariosa
Babiana secunda, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana secunda
Babiana sinuata, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana sinuata
Babiana spathacea, Michael Mace [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana spathacea
Babiana sp., Nieuwoudtville, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana sp.
Babiana stricta, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana stricta
Babiana hirsuta, Cameron McMaster [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
* Babiana thunbergii
Babiana torta, Namaqualand, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana torta
Babiana tubiflora, Andrew Harvie [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana tubiflora
Babiana tubulosa, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana tubulosa
Babiana flabellifolia, Rod Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
*Babiana truncata
Babiana unguiculata, Alan Horstmann [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana unguiculata
Babiana vanzijliae, Nieuwoudtville, Mary Sue Ittner [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana vanzijliae
Babiana villosa, Rod Saunders [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana villosa
Babiana virginea, Bob Rutemoeller [Shift+click to enlarge, Click to go to wiki entry]
Babiana virginea
* = synonym

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Page last modified on June 30, 2018, at 04:00 PM