The Amaryllis Family: Scadoxus pole-evansii

Scadoxus is a genus in the Amaryllis Family, Amaryllidaceae, that is endemic to southern and central Africa. It is closely related to Haemanthus; and at one time in the past, the two were treated as a single genus.

Scadoxus pole-evansii © Copyright 2003 by Jack Stooks.  All rights reserved.  Reproduced by permission.
© Copyright 2003 by Jack Stooks. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission.

Scadoxus pole-evansii is native to Zimbabwe. Its common name is "Inyanga Fireball." It is found in the Pungwe Gorge, where it grows in montane forests at 1500 to 2000 meters. It flowers in summer (December - February).

S. pole-evansii is said to be similar to Scadoxus multiflorus. I assure you it is over one hundred times more beautiful. I have been lucky enough to have lived in Zimbabwe and I went to the forest where they grow this January in pouring rain to be welcomed by a carpet of brilliant red. It is the most beautiful of all the plants I have come across in the wild!

The flowers on average are a meter tall. When I saw them some were going over but most were still flowering. Once the fruit is ripe (between February - June) they are spread by Samango Monkeys and our native forest birds like the Green Louries. The flowers I saw were mostly on the forest floor but they were also growing on tree stumps and in the forks of trees were humus has collected over the years. If you are interested I will e-mail you a photo of one but I must warn you that the brightness of the colour does not show up nearly as well as what I saw.

Jack Stooks

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).

Return to Amaryllis Family page Return to Bulbs Home Page Return to List of Genera


I want to thank Dr. Robert Archer, National Botanic Institute, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa, for his generous assistance in developing these pages.

* Notes on S. pole-evansii courtesy of Jack Stooks.

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Last revised: 21 June 2003

© Copyright 2003 by James E. Shields. All rights reserved.