Spetaea Wetschnig & Pfosser is one of the four sub-Saharan African genera in Hyacinthaceae previously included in Scilla. Scientific studies using molecular systematics have shown that what we know as Scilla appears to have multiple evolutionary origins. Therefore it seemed reasonable to recognise each coherent group as separate genera. The other three are Merwilla with two species, Pseudoprospero with one species, and Schizocarphus with one species. More information about the history of these plants and the differences can be found in a paper by John Manning written in 2019 entitled Systematics of the sub-Saharan African squills: The genera Merwilla, Pseudoprospero, Schizocarphus and Spetaea (Hyacinthaceae: Scilloideae). In that paper Spetaea is placed as sister to Daubenya in a diverse clade of largely winter-rainfall genera that includes Lachenalia, Massonia and Veltheimia. This genus is monotypic with one species described in 2003.

Spetaea lachenaliiflora Wetschnig & Pfosser is endemic to the southwestern mountains of the Western Cape, South Africa, and was previously included in what is now known as Merwilla plumbea. It is only found in a limited area: in Bains Kloof, du Toits kloof and with one sighting on Dasklip pass on the way to Groot Winterhoek wilderness area. It is readily distinguished from the other three genera by its tunicated bulb, succulent foliage with smooth margins, and campanulate flowers with exserted stamens and style. Photos were taken by Bernhard Frauenknecht December 2023.

Spetaea lachenaliiflora, Bernhard FrauenknechtSpetaea lachenaliiflora, Bernhard Frauenknecht

Return to the PBS wiki Photographs And Information page
Page last modified on January 20, 2024, at 03:27 PM
Powered by PmWiki