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Brunsvigia orientalis

23 Feb 2015 Posted by in Environment, Uncategorized | 6 comments

Brunsvigia orientalis (1) Brunsvigia orientalis Brunsvigia orientalis (2) Brunsvigia orientalis (3)The Brunsvigia orientalis  (Candelabra flower)  are starting to bloom at Rondevlei; with several plants pushing up in various stages. These plants belong to the Amaryllidacae family and produce flowers before they have any leaves which only come later when winter rains arrive. These flowers are a sure sign of the onset of autumn.

This flowering strategy is an advantage to them as they flower at the end of the dry summer and have pollinators at their beck and call, not competing with many other plant species. The other advantage is that they drop their seeds as winter is starting and they do not have to wait out the long dry summer with their seeds lying around. Once the seeds have formed the stalk breaks off and distributes its seeds as it rolls across the landscape.

Of course like anything in nature there is a disadvantage and this is that it takes some 15 years of growth and the storage of food before the plant can produce its first flowers. The entire plant is poisonous and heavily exploited as a medicinal plant; as a result there are only a handful of plants remaining on the Cape Flats.

  1. Charlene02-23-15

    Thank you for the interesting information.
    I will look out for them in Van Blommestein Park.

  2. Wendy Deary02-24-15

    Remember learning this at one of Dalton’s talks some years back. What do we call these plants that flower before producing leaves. ‘Hist..something ‘? Are try always referring to bulbous plants?

    • Dalton Gibbs02-24-15

      Very good! They are called “Hysteranthous” plants.

  3. Jimmy Baigrie02-24-15

    Thanks for these seed-scatterings to all of us, Dalton, for they help us gradually to become more fertile ourselves. Maybe Kia could be our teacher, too, sometimes?

  4. Miranda Alexander06-07-17

    Have just acquired some young plants from Kirstenbosch. Is it going to take 15 years before they flower?

  5. Dalton06-08-17

    Hi Miranda. Yes in the wild they can take up to 15 years before flowering. However in a garden situation with care this time can be shortened. Be careful not to let the bulb rot from too much water in summer. Also they like lots of sunlight in a warm position – in the wild they grow in the open.

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