Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bright bulbs for shade


In the Cape Town garden of No. 9 the paintbrush lilies are in bloom. Scadoxus membranaceus is indigenous to South Africa's Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, and spectacular in bloom.


These bulbs all grow very happily in pots, in full, high shade. 


One potful is beyond bloom and beautiful in seed, each enclosed in a fruit that will later turn red. I've read that birds and monkeys eat the ripe fruit, which makes me think that people may like and be able to eat them, too (the monkey part; never rely on birds as indicators of edibility). The bulbs are very poisonous (high in alkaloids, and potentially lethal), and used in traditional medicine. Other African Scadoxus species were used to poison arrow heads and to make fishing poison (PlantzAfrica).

Thinks: if your fish was poisoned, and you ate the fish...?


Let the propagating begin. I count over 100.

Maybe my mom can sell the babies at the next Open Gardens Constantia plant sale...

10 comments:

  1. Cape Town Garden No. 9 looks quite amazingly healthy. I'm working on New York No. 36 but without much hope...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Better Homes & Gardens for April arrived today. Top of page 13: " Garden Variety - We're digging 66 Square Feet, Marie Viljoen's horti-blog, seeded liberally with earthy recipes and cheeky observations. Novice or vicarious gardeners will enjoy her beginner tips (spring pot corp: greens). Experts will appreciate her brainy IDs - like 'Eriocephalus africanus' (wild rosemary)."

    Did you know? None of "us" are surprised ... Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Win, I did not know. That's nice!

      Cheeky, huh?

      Delete
  3. I wish to have such scintillating Scadoxus ensconced in my garden someday.

    ReplyDelete
  4. They are so beautiful, they look like a cross between a Hellebore & a Dogwood! I'll have to check out my favourite nursery to see if they can get these for me as I have 80% shade in both gardens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As long as you don't freeze, they should work. Some people use them as houseplants, too. Here in the Western Cape they have to put up with wet winters and dry summers, whereas in their natural range they have pretty much the opposite, so they seem to be adaptable.

      Delete
    2. Because of our temperate climate in Vancouver, of which you've experienced :), I think they'd do well as long as they have some protection from our wet winters. Not that this year has been a typical winter, we've been so blessed!

      Delete
  5. About the fish poison...I'd be wary of it, but I've been told by an old "black fella" that some poisons are neutralised in cooking. I know-too vague .But I expect there would be a local expert.

    ReplyDelete
  6. ... what beauties ... the structure and the colours are just wonderful ... thank you for sharing ... xxx

    ReplyDelete
  7. bet they would love san francisco. have natal lilies, clivia, callas, and gladiolus murielea. now if someone would bring the seeds or bulbs back to the us...

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...