Namaqua Century Plant
Gifbol, Kwaslelie, Kwaslelie (Afr.)
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The Boophone haemanthoides is a bulbous, herbaceous plant, with a primitive look to it. It is known not only for its sweet Frangipani-like, scented flowers but also for its poisonous bulbs and leaves. This species only produces one scented inflorescence and flowering is completed before seasonal leaf production. Seed distribution is conducted by the wind, the flowerhead dries up and separates from the main plant, where it is carried by light breezes, scattering seeds as it rolls. Once planted it may take up to 15 years to reach maturity, but capable of lasting over 100 years, this species could outlive most humans! This is a common feature plant. ZA Distribution: Northern Cape, Western Cape.
The seed should be planted 40 cm below the soil and this should be done after the last frost. If it is planted with an existing bulb, plant it so that the bulb is two-thirds above ground level.
Attracts useful insects
Bees and flies.
Flowers are initially yellow, but turn pink as they age.
Africa, South Africa, in the Cape provinces, and Namibia
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Soil PH preference
Neutral, Acid, Alkaline
by Colleen Rust, Hantam National Botanical Garden, January 2011. Updated by Graham Duncan, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, October 2018. Acknowledgments: The authors thank Hendrik van Zijl for the use of his images: figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8. (Copyright South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa)