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Massonia jasminiflora

December 19, 2018
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Description

Massonia jasminiflora comes from the summer rainfall areas of Cape Province, Orange Free State and Lesotho (South Africa), further east than most other species.

It is the smallest growing of the genus and varies quite significantly in its forms. More recent work using DNA has collated these forms together as the same species (Alison van der Merwe, ‘A Biosystemiatic Study of the Seven Minor Genera of the Hyacinthaceae’, I.B.S.A Bulletin, No.51, October 2002).

Despite this, M. jasminiflora is morphologically quite distinctive. It has umbels of pure white or pink flowers, each one measuring 1.2-2.8 cm long. The anthers are green, blue, deep purple or almost-black.

There are two leaves, as with all Massonias, which usually lie flat (or nearly so) on the ground. They are broadly oblong to ovate, acute, 3-6 cm long x  2-5 cm wide, pustulate or smooth, occasionally ciliate (hairs along the leaf margin forming a fringe). As the name suggests, the flowers are highly perfumed with a jasmine-like scent.

How to grow

As with the other members of the genus, M. jasminiflora requires the protection of an alpine house or bulb frame in regions subject to frosts. Well-drained soil and a bright, sunny aspect give the best results.

Propagation

M. jasminiflora can be propagated by seed. Flowering can be expected two to three years from sowing.

 

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