Monday 8 September 2008: Watsonia
Growing outside on the pavement on a corner, these Watsonias make a lovely picture.
Watsonia (Bugle Lily) is a genus of plants in the iris family, subfamily Crocoideae, native to South Africa. The genus is named after Sir William Watson, a British botanist.
This magnificent bulbous plant with tall spikes of rose-pink, trumpet-shaped flowers makes a picturesque display, flowering for up to 4 or 5 weeks?a beautiful garden subject that needs little maintenance.
Watsonia borbonica grows in the extreme southwest of the Western Cape , from Tulbagh southwards to the Cape Peninsula and eastwards to Bredasdorp.
Watsonia borbonica is particularly abundant after fires and is known at some sites to only flower in the first and second years following a fire.
Sunbirds have been seen to visit the flowers as well, but soon lose interest, probably because only a small amount of nectar is produced.
The genus Watsonia was named by Philip Miller of Chelsea after his friend Sir William Watson (1715?1787), a London physician and naturalist.
The species name borbonica means from the Ile de Bourbon, now Réunion, as it was mistakenly thought to originate from Réunion. In Australia and the USA, W. borbonica has become naturalized in some areas and is known as the Cape bugle lily or rosy watsonia.
Being a very conspicuous species, the early botanists visiting the Cape couldn't help but notice it. The first recorded collections were made by Anders Sparrman and Carl Thunberg in the 1770s.
The genus Watsonia has about 52 species and is centred in the southwestern parts of Western Cape but extends into Namaqualand, and is also found further north in southern KwaZulu-Natal and on the escarpment in Mpumalanga and Swaziland .
(From the Internet)