Bulbinella eburniflora P.L.Perry
Common names: bleekkatstert (Afr.)
Bulbinella eburniflora is a vulnerable species from the Bokkeveld Plateau, threatened with habitat loss due to ploughing and livestock grazing.
A deciduous, perennial geophyte, up to 0.75 m high. Leaves are narrow, linear, 3–7, channeled, with the margins finely toothed. The striking white to creamy flowers have a musky odour. Flowering occurs in spring (August–September) and the shiny black seeds are usually ripe by the end of October or the beginning of November.
Bulbinella eburniflora is listed as VU (Vulnerable). This means that the existing plants are under threat and have a high possibility of facing extinction in the wild. This is due to possible ploughing and livestock grazing.
Distribution and habitat
The species is confined to the Nieuwoudtville area on the Bokkeveld Plateau, where it grows in clay soils in Renosterveld, and occasionally in sandy soils amongst restios.
Derivation of name and historical aspects
The genus name Bulbinella, was described by Kunth for the first time in 1843. It is derived from Bulbine for its close resemblance to the genus: bulbus in Latin and bolbos in Greek, meaning bulb or onion. The species name eburniflora is very descriptive and means white or ivory-like foliage .
Bulbinella eburniflora often is visited by moths, due to its colour and musky odour. The Bokkeveld Plateau is situated in a semi-arid area, so the plants can tolerate some drought and also light frost.
There is no medicinal use recorded for the species. It is suited as a pot plant and in open flower beds with full sun. Bulbinella eburniflora also makes an excellent cut flower.
Growing Bulbinella eburniflora
The best way to propagate Bulbinella eburniflora is from seeds. Sow seed in autumn, using a well-drained soil mixture. Seedling can be transplanted towards the end of summer. Potted plants can start flowering within the first two years. Adult plants can also be carefully lifted and separated after the dry dormant season. Please make sure that plants are transplanted immediately, to avoid the roots from drying out.
Plants can be grown in clusters, to create a focal point in the garden, or in a pot on the veranda. Remember that the plant needs full sun and makes a good companion plant with grasses and restios.
- Manning, J. & Goldblatt, P. 2007. Nieuwoudtville: Bokkeveld Plateau & Hantam. South African Wild flower Guide 9. Botanical Society of South Africa in association with the National Botanical Institute, Cape Town.
- Perry, P.L. 1987. A synoptic review of the genus Bulbinella (Asphodelaceae) in South Africa. South African Journal of Botany 53,6: 431–444.
- Perry, P.L. 1999. Bulbinella in South Africa. Strelitzia 8. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
- Raimondo, D., Von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. & Manyama, P.A. (eds) 2009. Red list of South African plants. Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.
Plant Type: Bulb
SA Distribution: Northern Cape
Soil type: Sandy, Clay
Flowering season: Spring
Flower colour: White
Aspect: Full Sun
Gardening skill: Average