The Candelabra Lily

June 1, 2015
Candelabra lily Gondwana

During Autumn the Brunsvigia bosmaniae also known as the candelabra lily can be seen flowering all over Gondwana. It produces a stunning floral display when little else is flowering in the veld. Its rounded, candelabra-like pink flower heads consist of 20 to 40 slightly tubular flowers which have a narcissus-like scent. Each flower head is held on a stalk which is longer than the length of the flower. The beautiful flowering heads are strongly scented at night and therefore highly efficient in alluring pollinators such as sphingid and noctuid moths.

The Khoi-San people who historically inhabited this area, held the bulbs of this plant in high regard. They used the bulbs in decoctions to heighten the accuracy of their readings made by diviners and shaman. It has also been recorded that infusions of the bulb were used for medicinal purposes. 

It is important to note that Brunsvigias, like all other genera of Amaryllidaceae, have a very high alkaloid content, and therefore can be extremely toxic.

By Guide Salamon Munnik

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