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The Amaryllis Family: Genus Brunsvigia

The genus Brunsvigia in the Amaryllis Family (Amaryllidaceae) is endemic to Southern Africa. They are herbaceous perennials growing from a true bulb. The flowers are borne in an umbel, a cluster at the top of the peduncle or stalk.

The genus is closely related to genera such as Amaryllis, Ammocharis, Boophone, Crinum, and Nerine. Intergeneric hybrids have been made, such as x-Brunserine from Brunsvigia x Nerine, and x-Amarygia from Amaryllis x Brunsvigia. Similar bigeneric crosses have yielded x-Amarcrinum and x-Amarine.


There are numerous species in the genus:

appendiculata F.M.Leight.
   Distribution: SW Western Cape Province
   Kew says a synonym of bosmaniae
bosmaniae F.M.Leight.
   Distribution: Namibia to W. Cape Prov
comptonii W.F.Barker
   Distribution: W. Cape Prov.
   Winter-growing (?)
elandsmontana Snijman
   Distribution: SW Cape Province
   Winter-growing (?)
grandiflora Lindl.
   Distribution: Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal
gregaria R.A.Dyer
   Distribution: Eastern Cape Province
herrei Leight. ex W.F.Barker
   Distribution: Namibia to Northern Namaqualand
josephiniae (Redouté) Ker Gawl.
   Distribution: Western Cape Province
kirkii Baker
   Distribution: Tanzania to Malawi
litoralis R.A.Dyer
    Brunsvigia litoralis (c) copyright 2013 by James E. Shields.  All rights reserved.
   Distribution: Southern Cape , Knysna to Port Elizabeth
marginata (Jacq.) W.T.Aiton
   Distribution: SW Western Cape Province
namaquana D.Müll.-Doblies & U.Müll.-Doblies
   Distribution: Western Cape Province
   Winter-growing (?)
natalensis Baker
   Distribution: Free State, Lesotho, Swaziland, Drakensberg Escarpment
nervosa (Poir.) ined.
   Synonyms: Brunsvigia minor, Brunsvigia striata (see below)
   Distribution: Cape
orientalis (L.) Aiton ex Eckl.
   Distribution: Western Cape Province
pulchra (W.F.Barker) D.Müll.-Doblies & U.Müll.-Doblies
   Distribution: Western Cape Province
   Winter-growing (?)
radula (Jacq.) W.T.Aiton
   Distribution: Namaqualand and Northern Cape Province
radulosa Herb.
   Distribution: Central Great Karoo, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho, north to Botswana
   Distribution: Bokkeveld Mountains to Cape Infanta and Oudtshoorn
   Winter-growing (?)
   Kew says a synonym of nervosa; Manning, Goldblatt, and Snijman recognize striata in "The Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs."
undulata F.M.Leight.
   Distribution: KwaZulu-Natal
   Summer-growing (?)

Other Sources of Information

Bjørnstad, I.N & Friis, I. (Friis, I. & Nordal, I.)1972-1976. Studies on the genus Haemanthus L. (Amaryllidaceae) I--IV. Norw. J. Bot. 19: 187--206; 19: 207--222; 21: 243--275; 23: 63--77. The last reference providing keys to the species, list of synonyms, and necessary combinations.
Bulbous Plants of Southern Africa, Neil du Plessis and Graham Duncan, Tafelberg Pub. Ltd., Cape Town (1989).
Bulbs for Warm Climates, Thad M. Howard, University of Texas Press, Austin (2001).
Bulbs, Revised Edition, John E. Bryan, Timber Press, Portland (2002).
Cape Bulbs, Richard L. Doutt, Timber Press, Portland, Portland (1994).
RHS Manual of Bulbs, John Bryan and Mark Griffiths, Eds., Timber Press, Portland (1995).
The Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs, John Manning, Peter Goldblatt, and Dee Snijman, Timber Press, Portland (2002).

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For information about this account, contact:
James E. Shields,
Last revised: 15 February 2013
© Copyright 2013 by James E. Shields. All rights reserved.