Articles: BULB CHAT May 2002 PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 May 2011 23:06

THE GENUS BABIANA

CYRTANTHUS CARNEUS

REPORT BACK - GLADIOLUS SUBCAERULEUS

CONGRATULATIONS

EMPODIUM

NERINE SARNIENSIS : A CORRECTION

AMARYLLIS BELLADONA

PRESENTATIONS

MARK IN ON YOUR CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR THE IBSA YEAR

THE GENUS MASSONIA

SETTING SEED

THE GROWING MEDIUM

STRUMARIA

LACHENALIA BULBIFERA VS LACHENALIA RUBIDA

SOURCES OF BULBS AND CORMS

STRATIFICATION

HAEMANTHUS NAMAQUENSIS

BULB CHAT May 2002 No. 27

You will have realised that Bulb Chat 26 was a collaborative effort if only from the use of the personal pronoun 'I' in places instead of the editorial 'we'. This is a developement we have long wished for and can only improve Bulb Chat. If one member can do it so can others.

Let us have some more notes which can be published verbatim without editorial re-writing.

We regret to have to inform members that Dr Robert (Bob) Stobie passed away suddenly at the beginning of May. We extend our deepest condolences to Mary and their children.

THE GENUS BABIANA

There are a lot of IBSA members who grow Babiana. We are now starting to get more and more requests for information on Babianas, even from abroad. At present the Babiana revision dates back to the late Fifties. It was written by G Joyce Lewis. A new revision is long overdue. The time has come for us at IBSA to start putting pressure on the Iridaceae specialist(s) at the NBI to consider this demand for knowledge. The Botanists have discovered a few new species during the past few years. We will hopefully see some of these species in the long awaited "Bulb Book".

CYRTANTHUS CARNEUS

During March 3 IBSA members went on a daytrip to the Napier area to collect seed of Cyrtanthus carneus. The plants were found growing amongst Pine trees. They were not in flower any more and a few slightly green seed pods could be collected. Cyrtanthus carneus has a restricted distribution near the coast in the Caledon and Bredasdorp districts. The plants grow in clumps in well drained sandy soil. The spectacular tubular, pendulous flowers are red to orange to even a flesh-pink. The flowers are borne on a tall , green scape ( flowering stem or peduncle). The leaves are usually present at flowering time. ( December to February ) There are two other Cyrtanthus species which are closely allied to Cyrtanthus carneus - Cyrtanthus obliquus from the Eastern Cape and Cyrtanthus herrei from the Richtersveld.

Cyrtanthus carneus is notoriously difficult to keep in cultivation. The correct amount of watering at the right time seems to be critical. Success obviously also depends on drainage.

REPORT BACK - GLADIOLUS SUBCAERULEUS

After the request in the previous Bulb Chat about this elusive little Gladiolus it was reported that flowering specimens were seen at the Southern end of the Van Der Stell Pass on Easter Weekend. It is hoped that the member who made this report will be able to collect some seed for distribution amongst IBSA members.

CONGRATULATIONS

IBSA was founded at a meeting held at the house of Mr J. E. Retief in Bellville on the 15 th of April 1961. Mrs M. Thomas was elected Chairperson and Mr J. W. Loubser Secretary.

We wish to congratulate IBSA member Dr Alison van der Merwe. After many years of hard work she attained her PH.D in Botany at the University of Stellenbosch, during March 2002.

The title of her dissertation was : A Biosystematic Study of the 7 Minor Genera of the Hyacinthaceae. We are going to be using the results of this work for years to come when identifying Massonias, Daubenyas and Polyxenas. Thank you Alison.

For those who do not know - Alison is the daughter of Gordon and Barbara Summerfield.

EMPODIUM

This is the time of the year to look for these star-shaped yellow flowers. Along the road at the back of the Nieuwoudtville reserve you can find Empodium flexile until early June. In the town of Nieuwoudtville and further to the south Empodium namaquensis is in full flower during May.

Empodium namaquensis is heavily scented. In cultivation they tend to flower at intervals during April and May. When you come within 1O m of a pot with flowering plants you are struck by a heady , sweet lemon scent. When it comes to scent Empodium namaquensis is on par with other heavily scented plants such as Gladiolus orchidiflorus, Freesia refracta, Moraea ciliata and Lachenalia comptonii.

In the Southern Cape Empodium plicatum can be found flowering from April to June.The yellow star-like flowers are green on the reverse side of the outer tepals.

Empodium veratrifolium grows on the granite outcrops near Vredenburg. The broad pleated leaves are present at flowering time - May to June. These plants grows in the cracks of the rocks in naturally formed compost.

NERINE SARNIENSIS : A CORRECTION

In Bulb Chat 26 we maligned Dr Morison. He was not just a 'fair-weather' royalist. Born in 162O, he obtained his PhD at Aberdeen. He continued his studies on the Continent

(MD, Angers 1648) and in 1649 was Physician and Botanist to the Duke of Orleans at Blois. He returned to England in 166O as Senior Physician and Botanist to Charles II. He was appointed Professor of Botany at Oxford in 1669 and published his Historia Plantarum Oxoniensis in 168O. He died in an accident in 1683. To tidy up the other characters in the story Christopher Hatton, Governor of Guernsey, died in 167O and was succeeded by his son whose first wife (Lambert's daughter) was killed in an explosion in 1672. Hatton went on to hold several appointments and was created a Viscount in 1683.

AMARYLLIS BELLADONA

Cameron Taswell-Yates tells us that although his plants grow well he seldom gets flowers.The tender leaves are stripped by birds and he thinks this prevents the bulbs from getting adequate nutrients to support flowering. Have any other members experienced this ?

PRESENTATIONS

At the AGM in February Carol Turnley-Jones was awarded Honorary Life Membership in recognition of her very active participation in IBSA for 33 years. She was presented with a painting by Estelle Byrne. Paul von Stein was presented with a book on the tuberous Pelargoniums in gratitude for his many years of Secretaryship.

MARK IN ON YOUR CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR THE IBSA YEAR

Ferozah Konrad of the Compton DNA Laboratory is currently working on Amaryllidae. She has kindly agreed to be our speaker on 29 June. This will be the first time we have direct contact with the new DNA laboratory and no doubt members will have many questions to ask about it.

THE GENUS MASSONIA

A member has asked about the position of Massonia now that Daubenya has been sorted out. So many botanists have had a dabble at it that probably no two agree. The only reply we can make is that here the following species are recognised at present : M depressa, echinata, jasminiflora, pustulata, pygmaea and sessiliflora. M. pygmaea is recognised in two subspecies

being subsp pygmaea and subsp kamiesbergensis. There will probably be at least one further publication about the genus in the foreseeable future. The list given here hovers between the Jessop revision of 1976 and the excessive splitting of species by the Muller-Doblies in 1997.

Some of the names which may still be in use in nurseries are : grandiflora and latifolia are now in M depressa; bolusiae is now in M echinata and bowkeri in M jasminiflora; heterandra is now in M pygmaea. The angustifolia of Jessop is now in Daubenya marginata while the angustifolia of the younger Linnaeus is now in M echinata. M marginata and M rugulosa are now both Daubenya marginata.

SETTING SEED

There is no doubt whatsoever that there is interaction between specimens, nowadays called sociobotany. You will get more and stronger germination if you plant seed in clumps and not disturb the clump until after the second year cycle. An alternative is to sow the seed around the parent plant but in that case you must beware of the seedlings becoming choked in the second year, particularly in the case of true bulbs which grow wider year by year.

THE GROWING MEDIUM

If you look back at the reports of plants displayed at monthly meetings( if you have kept them ) you will see that the very great majority are species which grow in clay, dolerite or shale. One reason is that the majority of our collectables do grow there but it is not the only or the most significant reason. We hear of species which are difficult to grow or which die off after one or two seasons. These are almost always the species that grow in sandstone. Members are too inclined to use a single potting mix. That mix is invariably a neutral one of pH 6 to 7. Sandstone ( true fynbos ) species should be grown in true sandstone with a minimal amount of humus mixed in. We are surrounded by sandstone around greater Cape Town and it is not difficult to collect a bag of naturally weathered sand or fine grit - not water washed sand from river margins - that has had most of its characteristic leached out. If you do this you will not find fynbos species difficult to grow.

STRUMARIA

This is the time of the year when many of the 23 species of Strumaria flower. Strumarias are closely related to Hesseas. To differentiate between these two genera you have to look at the open flowers from the front. If the filaments of the 6 stamens are entirely free from the style, you are looking at a Hessea. In Strumarias the filaments are touching the style and the style is usually thickened proximally. Hessea flowers are actinomorphic and stellate while the actinomorphic flowers of Strumaria could be stellate or funnel-shaped. Reports have come in that Strumaria tenella ssp tenella is flowering in Nieuwoudtville as well as to the north west of the town. Strumaria truncata has been seen in flower along the N7 from the Garies area northwards. In the area to the west of Kamieskroon the deep pink colour forms of Strumaria truncata had been seen. Under normal circumstances Strumaria truncata has pendulous flowers. Populations from the Steinkopf area north of Springbok do not have pendulous flowers. 2 specimens collected there many years ago have already flowered and seeded in cultivation this year.

Seed ( 4 ) of Strumaria pygmaea was collected by Dr John Manning along the Kliprand Road in 1999 and grown in Cape Town. All 4 these plants have come into flower during the last week of April. The flowers are white, stellate and extremely small. Each plant had 3 or 4 flowers and all the plants flowered at the same time. Total plant length at present is about 5cm

To have found these plants in the natural succulent vegetation was a major accomplishment.

At the April monthly meeting Strumaria watermeyeri, Strumaria chaplinii, Strumaria truncata and Strumaria salteri were shown in full flower.

LACHENALIA BULBIFERA VS LACHENALIA RUBIDA

IBSA members often have both these species in their collections and when they start flowering early in the year confusion could set in.

Lachenalia rubida has a coastal distribution and grows on flats and dunes while Lachenalia bulbifera also grows along the coast but can grow on rocky outcrops. The one or two leaves of both species could be unmarked or even heavily spotted. Both species have pendulous cylindrical flowers. The most important differentiating feature is that the inner segments of the flowers of Lach rubida is about 15% - 2O% longer than the outer segments. In Lach bulbifera the inner segments are only slightly longer than the outer segments. The other important sign to look for is the colour of the tips of the inner segments. Lach bulbifera have green tips flanked by two purple zones while Lach rubida have purple tips with white markings.

SOURCES OF BULBS AND CORMS

IBSA members are always on the look out for sources of bulbs and corms. During April a sale of rare plants was held at Bishopscourt. Those who made the effort to get there were rewarded by being able to buy the following : Scadoxus membranaceus and Scadoxus multiflorus, Cyrtanthus falcatus, C elatus and C sanguineus, a few different Agapanthus species, including A coddii, Nerine masonorium, N humilis and N sarniensis. Jim Holmes also had Hesperantha coccinea - previously known as Schizostylis coccinea - for sale , in the normal scarlet red, in pink as well as in white.

A quick trip to Worcester to the Karoo Botanical Garden was also extremely fruitful. They had the following for sale towards the end of April : Various Agapanthus species, Brunsvigia bosmaniae, B josephinae and B orientalis, Haemanthus coccineus, H sanguineus and Haemanthus amarylloides. They also had Nerine humilis and N sarniensis. The one that I found most pleasing to see was Strumaria unguiculata. They also had Crossyne flava and

Crossyne guttata. Cyrtanthus montanus was also available. Amongst the Iridaceae the following was seen - Babiana patula and Babiana stricta as well as Gladiolus tristis.

In the rockery near the entrance to the shop Hessea brevifolia was in full flower. A few Nerine humilis plants were also coming into bud.Unfortunately they are not open over week-ends.

Brunsvigia marginata, Nerine sarniensis and Nerine humilis could all be seen from the road while driving to Worcester from Cape Town over the Du Toit's Kloof Pass. Stop at the western end of the old tunnel and botanize about 1OOm back as well as along the slopes of the tunnel.

STRATIFICATION

The optimum temperature for the germination of most seeds is close to room temperature, although the seeds of plants adapted to colder or warmer climates can germinate at lower or higher temperatures, respectively. The seeds of some plants in temperate climates often require a wet period that is followed by several weeks of a cold period before they will germinate. These conditions activate chemicals in the seed that stimulate germination. For example, the seeds of apple trees and pines can be artificially induced to germinate by wetting them and placing them in a refrigerator. This process is called stratification.

We use this same process to stimulate flowering in certain bulbs. It is well known that tulips that had been "treated" flower better than"untreated" tulips. Try putting your Daubenyas in the refrigerator at 5 degrees Celsius for about 5 weeks, from the end of March. You will be rewarded with superb flowering towards the end of August or beginning of September.

HAEMANTHUS NAMAQUENSIS

This rare Haemanthus from the Steinkopf area in Namaqualand is rarely seen and does not flower well at all in cultivation. Reports have come in that Haemanthus namaquensis flowered well this year and that plants were seen full of seed during April.

 

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