For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

White Paintbrush (Haemanthus albiflos)

Family Amaryllidaceae
It is a very variable plant. The oblong leaves vary in colour from pale to dark green or greyish-green and are usually smooth and sometimes shiny. They may occasionally be covered with short, soft hairs, or have yellowish spots on the upper surface. Unlike most other Haemanthus species, which prefer full sun, H. albiflos almost always occurs in shady habitat in forest and bushveld vegetation. The upper half of the bulb is usually exposed above ground and is bright green.

This plant is reported to be used in traditional medicine to treat chronic coughs and as a charm to ward off lightning.
Haemanthus albiflos grows up to about 250 mm high when in flower, and it has a wide, mainly coastal distribution stretching from the southern Cape through many parts of the Eastern Cape, right up to the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal.
H. albiflos has a long flowering period extending from early April to as late as July (autumn and winter) in the wild, but sporadic blooms may also appear at any time of the year under cultivation. The flower head (known as an umbel in botanical terms) is compact, usually about 30-50 mm wide, and consists of numerous erect, narrow white flowers, enclosed by several broad, greenish-white bracts. The erect stamens protrude conspicuously beyond the tips of the flowers and their anthers turn bright yellow or orange when ripe. Bees and butterflies visit the flowers and are probably the pollinators, but this has not been confirmed. The ripe fruit is a most attractive bright orange or red fleshy berry producing a distinctive musty odour.