Alpine Garden Society



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Lachenalia corymbosa - plant of the month Dec 2015

Lachenalia  corymbosa, formerly Polyxena corymbosa is a  member of a  genus of dwarf  bulbous plants from the winter rainfall area of the Western Cape region of South Africa. Formally a member of the family Hyacinthaceae ( defunct)  can now be found in the Asparagaceae - a victim of one of the many changes to have taken place in this group of plants in recent years - J.C. Manning, P. Goldblatt & M.F. Fay, "A revised generic synopsis of Hyacinthaceae in sub-Saharan Africa, including new combinations and the new tribe Pseudoprospereae", Edinburgh Journal of Botany 60(3): 533-568 (2004) - the revision now accepted by most authorities. 

Due to its size it is ideal for pot culture, needing some protection from hard frosts. Members of the former genus Polyxena dislike root disturbance, prefering a potting medium that does not dry out too rapidly during active growth. Best planted en masse in early autumn, watered well and left until growth is evident , reducing water by the end of spring, and allowing the soil medium to dry out completely over summer.

L. corymbosa is easily propagated from seeds best sown fresh (sometimes flowering in their second season) or by division of clumps when dormant - but dont be too keen to separate off tiny bulbs as these take a very long time to flower, best to leave them attached to a larger bulb for an extra season. As an added bonus to the plentyful flowers, L. corymbosa is strongly honey-scented.

Ray Drew
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