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...

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