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Products > Boophone disticha
 
Boophone disticha - Oxbane
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Bulb
Family: Amaryllidaceae (Onions)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Flower Color: Pink
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Synonyms: [Boophane disticha]
Height: 1 foot
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30° F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Boophone disticha (Oxbane) - A large deciduous solitary bulb from a wide range in South Africa from the drier southwest to the more tropical East Africa. The bulb can grow to about 7 inches in diameter with a thick covering of dry scales above the ground and blunt gray leaves that can reach to 20 inches tall and have wavy undulating edges. The inflorescence, which appears on older plants in late winter or spring and often when the plant is leafless, is composed of an umbel of many pink to red funnel-shaped flowers. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil and water little to regularly while in leaf. It is best to protect this plant from frost though we did not experience damage on our plants in the January 2007 cold snap where temperatures dipped to 26 F. This plant is quite poisonous and care should be given not to let animals browse the plant. Though this plant is most often listed as Boophane, it is noted in “The Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs” by John Manning, Peter Goldblatt and Dee Snjman the Timber Press 2002) that the spelling of this plant's name has caused much confusion and that Boophone has been formally proposed as the correct form. The name comes from the Greek 'bous' meaning "ox", and 'phone' meaning "death" and is in reference to the poisonous properties of this bulb. The specific epithet 'disticha' is for the two-ranked leaves displayed in a fan-like formation. Other common names for this plant are Bushman poison bulb, Candelabra flower, Cape poison bulb, Century plant, Fan leaved boophone, Kaffir onion, Poison bulb, Red posy, Sore eye flower, Veld fan, Windball, Fireball, Oxkiller fan, Tumbleweed. The names Windball and Tumbleweed are in reference to the dried inflorescence that can tumble about while dispersing seed and the sore-eye flower name alludes to the thought that a person exposed within a confined area to the open flowers may get sore eyes or a headache.  This description is based on research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in our nursery garden and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments received and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Boophone disticha.
 
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