San Marcos Growers LogoSan Marcos Growers
New User
Wholesale Login
Enter Password
Home Products Purchase Gardens About Us Resources Contact Us
Nursery Closure
Search Utilities
Plant Database
Search Plant Name
Detail Search Avanced Search Go Button
Search by size, origins,
details, cultural needs
Website Search Search Website GO button
Search for any word
Site Map
Retail Locator
Plant Listings


  for JUNE

Natives at San Marcos Growers
Succulents at San Marcos Growers
 Weather Station

Products > Ornithogalum sandersiae
Ornithogalum sandersiae - Giant Chincherinchee
Image of Ornithogalum sandersiae
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Bulb/Tuber/Rhizome etc.
Family: Hyacinthaceae (~Amaryllidaceae)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Summer
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Height: 3-5 feet
Width: <1 foot
Exposure: Full Sun
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 10-15 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Ornithogalum sandersiae (Giant Chincherinchee) - An easy to grow perennial winter dormant bulbous plant with erect rosettes of dark shiny dark green blunt tipped lanceolate leaves that rise up in spring to around 2 feet tall and in summer, generally from June to August, produces spikes to 3 to 5 feet tall bearing flat toped conical inflorescences of many tightly held white flowers with 1/2 inch long petals surrounding the dark green near black ovary in the center of each flower.

Plant in full (best) to part sun in a decently well drained soil and water regularly to occasionally spring through when flowers fade in later summer. Since foliage is down in winter it can handle fairly sever frost but is best lifted and stored in colder climates than USDA Zone 8. If soil does not drain adequately the bulbs can rot during wet winter months. The bulbs of Ornithogalum sandersiae multiply rapidly in the garden to form dense stands where it is an attractive garden or container plant with showy long-lasting flowers, which are beautiful and long lasting in flower arrangements. Care however should be exercised to not allow animals or children to chew or eat this plant. Like many other plants in the hyacinth family, this species is poisonous to mammals.

Ornithogalum sandersiae is native to rocky outcrops in Mpumalanga, Swaziland and the KwaZulu-Natal mountains of South Africa. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'ornis' or 'ornithos' meaning "bird" and 'galum' meaning "milk" with one thought about this meaning being a Greek proverb about the rarity of bird's milk or a similar Roman phrase that meant something being wonderful. Another less popular thought is that the white flowers of some species might resemble bird droppings. The specific epithet honors the well-known British-born South African botanical illustrator and plant collector Katharine Saunders (1824-1901) who first sent bulbs of this species to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in 1887. The common name chincherinchee, that several South African species share, is in reference to the sound made by the dried foliage and flower stalks in the wind. Our plants grown from seed provided to us by local Santa Barbara plantsman Jim Foster. 

This information about Ornithogalum sandersiae displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.