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Products > Bulbine natalensis
Bulbine natalensis - Rooiwortel

[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Asphodelaceae (~Liliaceae)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Spring
Synonyms: [B. latifolia var. latifolia]
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Bulbine natalensis (Rooiwortel) A stemless evergreen plant that grows to about 1 foot tall by as wide as a rosette holding soft broad 8 inch long triangular leaves that are a bright green with striations and broad channels. The lightly fragrant starry yellow flowers, rise 1-2 feet on one or more unbranched inflorescences in late winter and early summer with the stamen filaments having the fine yellow hairs that distinguishes it from the related genera Bulbinella. Plant in full sun to light shade with little to occasional irrigation and considered drought tolerant once established. Hardy to at least 25 F. A very attractive plant that has been described as a smooth, toothless Aloe. Use as a small accent plant, in mass or a container specimen. The species comes From KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa where it grows on sandstone cliffs. The name Bulbine comes from the Greek word 'bolbine' and Latin 'bulbus', a general word for a bulbous or onion-like plant but is somewhat misleading as these plants do not have a bulbous base. The specific epithet is a reference to the plant coming from the province of Natal (KwaZulu-Natal) in South Africa. The common name "Rooiwortel" means red root and while not obvious, a red shade can be seen. The sap from the leaves of this plant has been used medicinally in a way similar to the Aloe vera gel and there are studies about its reported traditional use as an aphrodisiac and testosterone booster. We grew a very similar plant as Bulbine latifolia, at our nursery from 2001 until 2012, originally from seed received from Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden in 1995 but after comparing our plant to Bulbine natalensis, being grown at Annie's Annuals, we switched to Bulbine natalensis as we found it be more attractive, more robust and formed larger colonies. To confuse matters we do note that Bulbine natalensis is often listed as a synonym for Bulbine latifolia var. latifolia, such as on The Plant List, the collaboration between the Missouri Botanic Gardens and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Also it is interesting that the listing of Bulbine natalensis in the Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons (Urs Eggli editor, Springer, 2001), the autors of this section, Ernst van Jaarsveld and Paul Forster, describe a smaller plant (leaves 8.5-13 cm long) with gray-green leaves.  Information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it. We also will incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips would aid others in growing Bulbine natalensis.