The genus Lachenalia is native to Africa. A large number of species are found in the Republic of South Africa, mainly in the winter-rainfall areas. The genus contains over 90 species. These are bulbous plants with small to medium sized tubular or bell shaped flowers carried on a spike. The foliage is deciduous, and the leaves may be one, two, or many, often wide and enfolding the bloom scape; but the leaves may also be narrow and grass-like.
Lachenalia pustulata is an easily grown species with small bell-shaped flowers of various shades of pink and white. There are usually one or two sword-shaped leaves. The botanic name comes from the blister-like bumps that sometimes occur on the foliage. This species blooms in late winter or spring.
Lachenalia viridiflora is one of the most striking with its clear, turquoise blue-green tubular flowers. this is one of the very few "green flowered" plants that has truly beautiful blossoms! There are usually two sword-shaped, light green leaves, which occasionally have blister-like bumps. It is an early-blooming plant, the flowers appearing in autumn or early winter.
A valuable reference on the genus Lachenalia is "The Lachenalia Handbook" by Graham D. Duncan, pub. as vol. 17 of tbe ANNALS OF KIRSTENBOSCH BOTANIC GARDENS, National Botanic Gardens, 1988.
Cape Bulbs, by Rochard L. Doutt, Timber Press (1994).
RHS Manual of Bulbs, John Bryan and Mark Griffiths, Eds., Timber Press (1995).
Bulbous Plants of Southern Africa, by Neil du Plessis and Graham Duncan, Tafelberg Pub. Ltd., Cape Town (1989).
Bulbs, Revised Edition, John E. Bryan, Timber Press, Portland (2002).
Links to related WWW pages:
Lachenalia in the Greenhouse
Care and Culture of Lachenalia