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The evergreen HAEMANTHUS DEFORMIS is ENDEMIC TO FORESTS and SHADED STREAM BANKS in the Transkei (Eastern Cape) and southern KwaZulu-Natal.

It is a VALUABLE BULB FOR THE GARDENER because it NEEDS A DAPPLED SHADE, and WILL EVEN FLOWER WELL IN DENSE SHADE. The specific name DEFORMIS is most likely a reference to the very short, bent flower stem, and the extraordinary manner in which the flower head appears in the center at the base of the two evergreen leaves (and not from a lateral point as in the other evergreen species). It is a white-flowered species, grows up to 10 cm high with a short, hairy or smooth scape (single flower stem), and has two very broad, leathery leaves that lie flat on the ground. From MAY TO OCTOBER, at any time of those months, the flowers starts to bloom. It likes a well-drained, humus-rich growing medium, such as a mix composed of one-part coarse river sand to two parts WELL DECOMPOSED COMPOST or FINELY MILLED BARK. For many years, it is multiplying slowly by offset formation and the neck is resting at the ground level and can remain in the same position. Also the bulbs are planted with the top of the neck. As soon as they can be easily removed from brilliant orange (fleshy berries) should be harvested and sown. In SHADY COURTYARD GARDENS AND SHADED ROCKERIES, the plants make interesting subjects for wide-brimmed containers. Although they do survive heavy winter rainfall in mild parts of the Western Cape. They also like drenching at well-spaced intervals in SUMMER and prefer only OCCASIONAL WATERING IN WINTER.


MORE INFORMATIONS ABOUT HAEMANTHUS DEFORMIS (DWARF HAEMANTHUS)This plant is known only from a few populations in the coastal northeastern parts of the Eastern Cape (in the former Transkei) and in the coastal and Midland areas of KwaZulu-Natal.

The bulb must be partly exposed above dense pads of forest humus often within bush clumps or between moist rocky stream banks and on cliff ledges, also it grows in moist. As it is an evergreen plant, it likes moisture throughout the year, especially in summer, but less during the winter months. The flowers of Haemanthus deformis are probably pollinated by honey bees. In habitat it can withstand temperatures down to -12º C.

Haemanthus deformis is a lovely much shorter evergreen bulbous plant similar to Haemanthus albiflos and was introduced to cultivation in 1869. The short broad, succulent leaves spreading or lying flat on the ground and the dense brush of white flowers borne atop a short hairy stalk make Haemanthus deformis one of South Africa’s most strange bulbous plants. The mature plant reaches only 8-12 cm high in flower. The name “deformis” simply refers to the unusual occurrence of leaves and flowers together.

The bulb are lightly compressed, which is about 7-10 cm in diameter; tunics thick, green, bifarious. The even bulb tunics characteristically turning green when exposed to light. In time it slowly forms clumps of up to about 10 mature bulbs.

Its root are thick and fleshy.

Its leaves are 2 or 4 that are arranged alternately in two opposite vertical rows, contemporary with the flowers, firm, leathery, fleshy, strongly arched, spreading or lie flat on the ground, oblong to almost square 7-28 cm in length, and up to 7-25 cm broad, dull bluish-green, grey or greenish grey and unspotted, margins more or less ciliated. The amount of hair on the leaves varies from none to densely hairy. After the flower head appears or just after bloom, the plants that are evergreen starts to produce a set of two new leaves. Over a period of several months, the old set of leaves then withers and dies. Each leaf pair persists for more than a year. For more than a year, each leaf pair persists.

The inflorescence produces a solitary dense, flattened umbel which is the flower head of many slender individual flowers on a very short scape 1-6 cm tall, thick, which is bent, more or less hairy, centered in the crease between the two previous season’s leaves, not from a lateral point as in the other evergreen Haemanthus species. It is 4 cm in diameter when umbel is compressed.

The flower’s petals are color white, a cupped by board-like and are erect and small.

The stamens are bright yellow pollen on prominent white filaments, and are loner than the perianth segments.

Its stiles are protruding about as long as the stamens and has a color of white.

Its segments are linear, and is about 20 mm long;

It has a perianth tube that is about to 7,5-9 mm, lobes 2-2,5 cm.

The flowers may appear at any time until the late spring, but mainly bloom in late autumn.

It produces clusters of rounded fleshy dark orange red berries containing a few seeds that emit a strong, musty smell if

The pulpy layer disintegrates releasing the seeds because the ripe berries are dropping on the ground.

Immediately after maturation, the seeds almost germinate. Its seeds are hard and in shape of oblong.



HAEMANTHUS DEFORMIS (DWARF HAEMANTHUS) are known to be the NO GREAT DIFFICULTY IN CULTIVATION. In temperate climates it is most suitably grown in semi-shaded to fully shaded positions such as on a patio in pots with a diameter of at least 25 cm, in raised beds or rock gardens. The plants are best grown in containers in a cool or slightly heated greenhouse, in countries with cold winter climates. Plant the bulbs with the neck at, or just below soil level in a well-drained, slightly acid medium comprising equal parts of well decomposed compost or finely milled bark, and river or silica sand. The plants must have at least partial shade and thrive in even heavy shade. When watering the plants, make sure to water it heavily in SUMMER, once per week during the growing season. While in WINTER, reduce the watering for just every two weeks.

FROM SEED OR OFFSETS, PROPAGATE THE PLANTS. Just as the new leaves begin to develop, offsets are rather slow to form and are BEST separated from MOTHER BULB STRAIGHT AFTER FLOWERING. As soon as they are easily removed from the dark orange, ripe berries make sure to sow the seeds. REMOVE THE STICKY OUTER PULP, THUS EXPOSING THE SEEDS, make sure to put the berries in a bowl of water while doing the process. Allow the seeds to dry after cleaning it in the water. Cover the seeds with a sowing medium to a depth of up to 5 mm, after sowing the seeds in seed trays in the same medium recommended for adult bulbs. It takes up to FOUR TO FIVE YEARS TO FLOWER FOR THE FIRST TIME, also seeds may take up to TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE FIRST LEAF APPEARS ABOVE THE GROUND. The bulbs and leaf bases of HAEMANTHUS DEFORMIS (DWARF HAEMANTHUS) are susceptible to ATTACK BY MEALY BUGS, and the leaf margins are chewed by snout BEETLES AT NIGHT


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