Cyanella is a genus of Southern Africa in the Tecophilaeaceae family that grows from a corm. Five of the seven species are found in the Cape Floral Province. Species are mostly characteristic of the more arid parts of the winter rainfall region and are pollinated by bees. They should be planted in deep pots in a coarse well drained medium and grow best in full sun.
Cyanella alba Linnaeus fil. has one or two white, pink, or yellow flowers on long pedicels. It flowers late winter to spring and grows on stony clay and sandstone soils in dry winter rainfall areas. Flowers are solitary, usually on pedicels more than 10 cm long. This beautiful yellow form pictured first occurs in the Biedouw Valley, but is not common in cultivation. This first photo was taken at the Karoo Desert NBG in Worcester, August 2003 and the second photo was of plants grown by Jim Holmes and on display at the IBSA Bulb and Corm Symposium August 2003. Photos by Bob Rutemoeller.
The first five photos below were taken by Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner of the white form which is more common, seen south of Nieuwoudtville in the Bokkeveld Plateau September 2006. In the second picture it is growing with Moraea pritzeliana. The yellow flower seen in many of these photos is Ursinia nana. The last photo was taken by Bob Rutemoeller in the bulb room of the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.
Cyanella aquatica Obermeyer ex G.Scott grows in seasonally waterlogged dolerite outcrops in the Roggeveld. Plants grow to 40 cm high and have orange lightly scented flowers. This species has five upper stamens and one larger lower.
Cyanella cygnea G.Scott is a species from northern Namaqualand which is distinguished by the upper 3 stamens that are free and curved like the neck of a swan. First photo is of plants grown at the Karoo Desert NBG in South Africa taken August 2003 by Bob Rutemoeller. Macro photos by Shlomit Heymann show the swan shaped stamens. These bloomed in early winter, January and February, in her balcony garden.
Cyanella hyacinthoides Linnaeus grows on mostly clay and granite slopes, often in renosterveld from Namaqualand to the southern cape and the Karoo. Flowers are in a branched raceme, blue to mauve, rarely white and are violet scented. This species also has five upper stamens and one larger lower. The first three photos below photographed by Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner were taken in Namaqualand September 2006.
Photos 1-4 below were taken by Mary Sue Ittner. Photos 1-3 were taken near Clanwilliam September 2006 where there were many patches of them along the road. One was growing near an Albuca which could be Albuca suaveolens which has yellow flowers with green keels, but Albuca pentheri grows in this area too. In photo 3 they are seen growing with Lapeirousia fabricii. Photo 4 shows white flowered ones photographed near Nieuwoudtville. Photos 5-6 were taken near Nieuwoudtville by Bob Rutemoeller.
Cyanella lutea Linnaeus fil. flowers late spring. It has yellow flowers, rarely pink and is found on clay or limestone flats over a broad area from southern Namibia to Lesothos, Botswana and including areas of winter rainfall, year round rainfall and summer rainfall. The first one was photographed in Montagu in the Little Karoo in September 2003 by Bob Rutemoeller. My garden plants of this species often spend the year underground, especially after being transplanted. I dug out bulbs to redo a bed and wasn't sure what the bulb looked like to rescue it. Blooming in April the following year in a container composed of unknown bulbs I couldn't figure out, it appeared again. Second photo by Mary Sue Ittner
Photos taken by Mary Sue Ittner near Calvinia September 2006.
Cyanella orchidiformis Jacquin grows on rocky flats and lower slopes, often in wet spots, from Namibia to the western Cape (Clanwilliam). Growing to 40 cm high, this species has mauve flowers with a maroon center. Flowers are carnation scented and unlike many of the other species, this species has three upper and three larger lower stamens. The photos below were taken by Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner September 2006. Photos one through five were taken in Namaqualand including a rare white one. The last photo was taken near Clanwilliam.
This species thrives in the open garden plunge bed of M. Gastil-Buhl, blooming in March and corms already sprouting in September. Corms on a 1 cm grid.