Brunsvigia -Candelabra Flower
These tender bulbs are natives of South Africa.
The genus Brunsvigia belongs to Amaryllidaceae family
and contains about 23 species. Their funnel-shaped, brilliantly colored
flowers are produced in the spring before the foliage grows. They may be pink,
scarlet, red, or pale red. They are produced in large bunches atop thick stalks,
which may eventually reach a height of up to 5 feet. Their leaves are fleshy,
and strap-shaped, averaging 2 feet in length.
There is extreme variation in size within the genus
Brunsvigia, from the diminutive Brunsvigia radula, which is only a few centimeters
high, to B. josephinae, which reaches up to 2m when in full bloom. This plant has by far the biggest bulb and inflorescence among the geophytes
in South Africa. Its large striking umbels are easily visible in the veld when
The genus name Brunsvigia was named in
honour of the house of Brunswick. The specific name josephinae was named in
honour of the Empress Josephine, Napoleon's first wife. There are approximately
20 species of Brunsvigia found throughout southern Africa. Brunsvigia orientalis
is another well-known species. Another known species are Brunsvigia marginata, Brunsvigia
grandiflora, Brunsvigia natalensis, Brunsvigia
Brunsvigia orientalis is one of the exciting surprises
the plant is flowering. The emergence of large pinkish 'eggs'
suddenly pushing their way above ground, and then very quickly elongating and
becoming topped with spectacular red spherical flowerheads is a sight to behold!
What makes them even more surprising is that they pop up out of the bare ground,
normally without a leaf in sight!
Apparently if you stared long enough at the flower you got sore
the name sore-eye flower! A more likely explanation is that pollen in the eyes
would account for the irritation.
Besides its value in ornamental horticulture, the dry bulb tunics are used as a
wound dressing. It is known that young Xhosa men use the tunics as plasters
There is a rock art site in Africa, on Thaba
Bosiu. The site is hidden but it is worth seeking out as it contains a rare Bushman rock painting of a
plant. This plant – a Brunsvigia – has many medicinal properties.
Brunsvigia radulosa Herb, is a bulbous ethnomedicinal herb, widespread from the Great Karoo northwards through the grasslands of southern
A phytochemical investigation of the bulbs of Brunsvigia radulosa yielded ten isoquinoline alkaloids from this
taxon, including 1-O-acetylnorpluviine which is only known from B. radulosa. The current report investigates the suggestions of earlier workers relating to the psychoactivity of the bulb
constituents, and its usefulness in the traditional treatment of cancer.