Articles: BULB CHAT March 2002 PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 May 2011 23:01

FLOWERING TIMES AND AREAS

MORAEA PSEUDOSPICATA

SOUTH AFRICAN BOTANICAL ART : PEELING BACK THE PETALS.

THE CAPE

KIRSTENBOSCH GARDEN SERIES "GROW NERINES" BY GRAHAM DUNCAN

MORAEA ARISTATA

IBSA ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE

GLADIOLUS SUBCAERULEUS

PINK FORMS OF GLADIOLUS STEFANIAE AND NERINE SARNIENSIS

EXCURSIONS

BRUNSVIGIA ELANDSMONTANA

CYRTANTHUS AND GLADIOLUS IN THE SOUTH CAPE DURING MARCH

BLUE SNAIL BAIT PELLETS

SEED SALE AT THE IBSA AGM

BULB CHAT March 2002 No. 26

FLOWERING TIMES AND AREAS

In Bulb Chat we try to alert Cape members to what is flowering and where. It is more difficult for us to offer the same service to members to our north. Furthermore, by the time you read Bulb Chat that particular flowering is probably over. The value is in noting it for your personal expeditions the following year. With the weak Rand the opportunity to visit overseas is much reduced so that internal holidays and expeditions become more attractive and if these are combined with bulbing another dimension is added. The following is a list of sightings during the last half of January, all of which are within reach of members to the north:

IN THE GRAHAMSTOWN AREA: Drimia altissima, tall growing suitable for garden culture. Pink Watsonia pillansii. Scilla thermifolia. Cyrtanthus breviflora (red). Scadoxus puniceus. Agapanthus praecox. Apodolirion mackenii.

IN THE PORT ST. JOHNS AREA : Gladiolus oppositiflorus. Crocosmia aurea. Agapanthus

comptonii. Scadoxus multiflorus and Gloriosa superba.

IN THE LUSIKISIKI AREA : Tritonia disticha (tangarine) and Gladiolus longicollis

IN THE UMTATA AREA : Gladiolus ochroleucus ( yellow form )

IN THE NGELE MOUNTAINS : Watsonia confusa and Agapanthus campanulatus.

IN THE PORT EDWARD AREA : Gloriosa superba in the coastal sand dunes.

Scadoxus multiflorus - Large colonies in the forest. Brunsvigia grandiflora in the grasslands.

IN THE HILLCREST AREA : Gladiolus cruentus and Cyrtanthus sanguineus.

IN THE VRYHEID AREA : Brunsvigia natalensis, both red and pink forms. Agapanthus nutans. Crinum moorei. Watsonia latifolia as well as Watsonia watsonioides.

IN THE CAROLINA AREA : Nerine rehmannii, which looks very much like a Hessea.

Also Crocosmia paniculata, a very tall Crocosmia ( up to 18O cm tall )

IN THE BARBERTON AREA : Agapanthus inapertus. Eucomis montana. Ornithogalum saundersii. The yellow form of Gloriosa superba. Eucomis pole-evansii, a very tall and

striking form standing 2 m tall.

IN THE SENTINEL AREA : Both Agapanthus campanulatus and A. nutans. Eucomis bicolor, Eucomis humilis and Eucomis autumnalis - all growing pretty much together.

IN THE COLESBURG AREA : Brunsvigia radulosa.

IN THE RICHMOND AREA : Ammocharis coranica.

Pretty well all of these are visible from the roads. We hope that next year you will be able to tell us that this list had been useful to you.

MORAEA PSEUDOSPICATA

I recently found a small blue Moraea flowering in my potline - January/February 2002. I thought that this could not be normal, but on further investigation with the help of " The Moraeas of Southern Africa " by Peter Goldblatt, I found that it was Moraea pseudospicata. The corm was collected at Nieuwoudtville during an IBSA excursion about eight years ago.

Moraea pseudospicata is a local endemic of the Nieuwoudtville area. It has a solitary leaf which has often started dying back at the time of flowering. The pale blue flowers have yellow nectar guides on the inner and outer tepals. The tepal limbs spread horizontally. The filaments and the anthers with yellow pollen stick out of the tube ( are exerted ) formed by the tepals.

The flowers open in the late afternoon and fade in the early evening. Flowering time is November to March.

THERE WILL BE NO MONTHLY MEETING IN MARCH. THE LAST SATURDAY FALLS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE EASTER LONG WEEKEND AND IT IS LIKELY

THAT MANY MEMBERS HAVE THEIR OWN HOLIDAY PLANS FOR THAT WEEKEND

SOUTH AFRICAN BOTANICAL ART : PEELING BACK THE PETALS.

Those of you who have this book may have been struck by the labels visible beside the plants in Baines' painting of Mr Currie's garden on page 152. They were all indigenous plants grown by Miss Currie and identified by William Keit, whom she later married. He was the Curator of the Durban Herbarium and Director of the Botanical Gardens. What love will do for Botany or Botany for love !!!

THE CAPE

At the time of writing we are suffering a very hot summer with periodic rain showers. Autumn seems to be late or missing us. If we have good and early Winter rain the Spring flowering will be superb. Meanwhile there is very little to be seen and we have been unable to find a suitable one-day excursion target. We may now have to wait for April or even May before we venture out again within easy reach of Cape Town. We are, of course, watching the rain in the Springbok area. We are thinking about a return to the Tankwa in May.

KIRSTENBOSCH GARDEN SERIES "GROW NERINES" BY GRAHAM DUNCAN

This pamphlet is lavishly illustrated in colour, so much so that we were amazed when the bookshop told us the price was only R 39.95. The pamphlet has useful identification notes for each of the 25 species, some data on the better known hybrids and very useful sections on

cultivation and propagation. Not only is it a publication which no grower of Nerines should fail to have handy but it is sufficiently comprehensive that the average member will not need to refer to more professionally botanical monographs for most of his or her wants. Since Nerines are, on the whole, easy to propagate and easy to grow they are becoming among the most popular bulbous species. Most of them hybridise freely, so IBSA members will have to be very careful when identifying indigenous species. There already are, and will be more, a bewildering number of cultivars/hybrids. Seed will need to be thoroughly authenticated. You will remember that in her excellent talk at our November meeting Rhoda McMaster said that some specimens in the veld were presenting taxonomic problems. It is well to bear in mind that evolution is continuously on-going and new species can arise from hybridisation.

We were disappointed by some sloppy historical notes on p. 6 : Nerine sarniensis was being grown in Paris as early as 1634 and thought to have come from Japan. Morison, who named and described it in 1680, is blamed for the mistake which is hardly fair since it was not discovered to be a Cape species until 1772. In the pamphlet he is also debited with inventing the shipwreck story. Actually he was 'fed' the story by Charles Hatton as is set out in IBSA 50.

Morison is also described as a ' royalist ' which is nonsense. He was a lecturer at Oxford under the Commonwealth and taught, among others, Hatton. After 1660 ( when everybody suddenly became a royalist for their health ) he was protected by Hatton. Horticultural historians are excellent at saying who described species and when, but they should tread warily in the convoluted area of social and political history.

MORAEA ARISTATA

We have had a further communication from Johan Loubser. He has re-checked his authorities:

Peter Goldblatt ( 2 publications ), Goldblatt & Manning, Bond & Goldblatt, Synge, Innes, Duncan, Jeppe, Du Plessis & Duncan and Doutt. He also saw the flowers displayed by Barnard ( presumably grown from corms brought from England ) and has himself grown the species from seed originating from the Observatory, now unfortunately lost.

He is convinced that spotted specimens are contaminated and he will destroy the corms.

IBSA ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE

There was such a concentration of functions under Paul von Stein that it was impossible to pass them on in a single package. We have split them up, but it will need further division in the light of this year's experience. Rachel Saunders, as Secretary, will be maintaining the membership roll and the record of subscriptions assisted by Fred Overmeyer as bookkeeper of the ledgers. For the present Rachel has allowed her E mail address to continue to be used but the messages received will be passed to whoever deals with the subject. The Post Box at N1 City will continue to be the only postal address. Telephone enquiries must be sent to the Chairman at 021-5586537. Regrettably he is not bilingual. The rest of the work will be shared by the Chairman and Vice-chairman. Some of it will be outsourced. The bank account will be moved to a more convenient place.

GLADIOLUS SUBCAERULEUS

There are a few autumn-flowering species of Gladiolus in the Winter-rainfall area of the western Cape. Gladiolus subcaeruleus is one of the more elusive of these species. Very few IBSA members grow it at present or have even grown it in the past. I have not seen it at an IBSA seed sale during the time that I have been an IBSA member ( 1986 ), nor have I recently seen it on any commercial seed list. What makes it so special - nothing really! Gladiolus subcaeruleus produces 3 vestigial leaf blades on the single, unbranched, flowering stem. After flowering the plant produces a solitary foliage leaf from a separate shoot. The foliage leaf remains green during the winter months. The 3 - 5 pale blue flowers have yellow transverse or spear-shaped median markings outlined in dark purple on the lower lateral tepals.

Gladiolus subcaeruleus is found on clay soil in the area between Botriver and Riviersonderend

Flowering time is March and April. If any member finds this gladiolus in flower during the next few months, please let the Chairman know to enable us to try and collect seed this year

PINK FORMS OF GLADIOLUS STEFANIAE AND NERINE SARNIENSIS

We think of these two species as being red which, in most of their ranges, they are. But on Potberg G. Stefaniae is pink. Potberg was an island in the shallow sea of the latest inundation. As far as we know there are no specimens between Montagu and Potberg though at one time there must have been. The pink form of N. sarniensis grows on Lion's Head and is, we think, the origin of the specimens taken to Europe which were flowering in Paris in 1634 and which were later associated with the Hatton family. Both these forms flower in the last week of March

EXCURSIONS

We had hoped to organise an excursion in February but the hot weather has resulted in little flowering and somewhat isolated at that. The season of Amaryllids will soon be here.

Remember the Polyxenas, Strumarias, Hesseas and similar in April/May and the Tankwa and Swartruggens area in May/June. Be prepared to lead an excursion. You do not need to be knowledgeable about the plants ( there will be somebody in the party who is ) but only to show where to go. Keep us informed of likely target areas and we will organise the expedition.

BRUNSVIGIA ELANDSMONTANA

The frontispiece of IBSA Bulletin No 49 is of a Brunsvigia sp. nov. This plant has now been officially described and is known as Brunsvigia elandsmontana. It was discovered in the Elandsberg Private Nature Reserve in 1994. The flowers are actinomorphic and pink. The only other Brunsvigia with actinomorphic flowers is Brunsvigia marginata. Two mature bulbs were given to an IBSA member in July 2000 after they were used by the artist, Clare Linder Smith, for the painting in Flowering Plants of Africa. , One of these plants flowered in February 2002.

CYRTANTHUS AND GLADIOLUS IN THE SOUTH CAPE DURING MARCH

If you do a trip in the area between Swellendam and Albertinia towards the end of March you could be rewarded by seeing quite a few different species of Cyrtanthus and Gladiolus.

Just past Swellendam at Buffeljagsrivier you could turn off the N2 and along the farmroads leading towards the mountain you will find both Gladiolus engysiphon and Gladiolus emilae growing in close proximity. In this area amongst the grass you could also find the sweetly scented, dark red to maroon tubular flowers of Cyrtanthus odorus. This plant is extremely rare, so mark the locality for seed collection. A few km further east along the road to Zuurbraak you might find another Cyrtanthus. This is Cyrtanthus leptosiphon. This Cyrtanthus has pale creamy/pink funnel shaped flowers. Cyrtanthus leptosophon grows along with Gladiolus engysiphon here on the road to Zuurbraak.

South of Albertinia, towards the sea, you will find up to 1 meter tall flowering spikes of Gladiolus vaginatus growing amongst the restios. On each spike you will only find about 3 - 5 open flowers, but some flowers might already be over and others are only coming into bud.

This is the area where you might also find the elusive Cyrtanthus ochroleucus. It was found growing in the sand next to restios in this area in 1998. Before that it was only known to come from north of Riversdal. This Cyrtanthus has 2 - 4 tubular dull yellow flowers.

To the north of Albertinia along the farm roads there are more Gladiolus vaginatus as well as Gladiolus bilineatus. At this time Gladiolus stellatus is still in leaf in this area.

Coming back to Cape Town now via Still Bay you could be lucky to find the bright red Cyrtanthus fergusoniae.

If you return to Cape Town via Bredasdorp you could look for and find the beautiful Cyrtanthus guthrieae with large bright red flowers. In this area you are sure to find the more common Cyrtanthus leucanthus with cream coloured, sweetly scented, tubular flowers. On Potberg the pink form of Gladiolus stefaniae can be seen.

This is a trip worth doing because you will also see Brunsvigia orientalis, Haemanthus coccineus as well as H. Sanguineus. Crossyne guttata will be found on the flats and Nerine humilis in the areas to the north of the N2 . When coming back via Bredasdorp you will also find Strumaria gemmata with pale lemon star-shaped flowers. To see this small amaryllid you will have to walk in the veld.

BLUE SNAIL BAIT PELLETS

We came across something which may have no bearing on bulb culture but which may be worth remembering. It arose from research into the virus epidemic which is killing off frogs in England. It was found that many frogs had a high concentration of copper which destroyed their immune system. This was caused by them eating decomposing snails killed by blue snail bait pellets. The blue ( from copper ) is designed to render the pellets unattractive to birds. Copper does not " go away ". It leaches into the soil. In the form of Copper Sulphate ( Bordeaux mixture etc ) it is a powerful fungicide though it may result in the scorching of leaves and tender shoots. Blue pellets may, in fact, protect you from fungus infection but do not scatter it too thickly near bulbs - in any case a wasteful practise.

SEED SALE AT THE IBSA AGM

At the seed sale there were about 195 different species available. Of some of the species there were only 2 or 3 packets available. A few packets of Amaryllid seed were left over . These we have to dispose of as soon as possible because they are going to start sprouting and have to be planted as soon as possible. Please contact our Chairman at 5586537 if you are interested in Scadoxus puniceus , Crinum bulbispemum, Nerine krigei or Haemanthus sanguineus. To all members who so kindly donated their precious seeds and bulbs\corms - a big Thank You. We also have to thank all those who bought the seeds and bulbs\corms that were available.

Last Updated on Monday, 05 August 2013 16:25
 
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