Haemanthus sanguineus Jacq. has a wide distribution and is found in seasonally moist habitats on mountains and coastal flats, mainly in winter rainfall areas. It has two leaves pressed to the ground that are dry at flowering and red to pink flowers on a somewhat compressed compact umbel. Although the flowers resemble Haemanthus coccineus, the leaves are tough and leathery, rounder in shape with a distinct reddish margin and always flat on the ground. There are no markings on the underside of the leaves. This plant flowers late summer to fall (January to April) in the Southern Hemisphere, often after fire. It is in leaf from April until November. Photos by Cameron McMaster.
These photos by Cameron McMaster were taken in Napier in the Overberg. The first shows a bud appearing between the dried leaves in January. The second taken in August shows the very flat on the ground leaves. The last shows a group flowering after a fire.
Leaves of this species were seen by Roy Herold in the hills above Muizenburg, south of Cape Town, in October 2002. We suspect it is Haemanthus sanguineus because of the leaf morphology and the range of this bulb is within the range of H. sanguineus.
Photos 1-2 were taken by Nhu Nguyen. Photo 1 is of seeds (some germinating) and ready to be planted and photo 2 shows seedlings after just 2.5 months from the seeds in photo 1. Photo 3 shows a bulb blooming for the first time grown by Doug Westfall.
This summer I lit a fire over my Haemanthus sanguineus. Using Dioscorea elephantipes, old Haemanthus leaves and bit of orchard grass, for a few minutes a day for about a week. After ten years of two leaves - beautiful, foot 'round leaves, it finally bloomed. It's planted in a 16" terracotta, gravel, sand, pine bark with coir, worm casting dressing each season before growth. The leaves remain viable each year from September/October through April/May. I keep it completely dry in summer, when dormant. Photograph and text by Michael Loos, Interlaken, NY.