Family : Amaryllidaceae
Common names : candelabra flower ( Eng. ); kandelaarblom, (Afr.); Lemathla (Southern Sotho)

Brunsvigia do look fabulous in a container but are at their most spectacular when the eye catching inflorescences are seen in open grassland.  The thick leaves have rough edges and spread flat on the ground. The large bulb (200mm in diameter) produces a beautiful candelabra of up to 75 pale to bright pink flowers in summer. When this dries, it breaks off and tumbles around in the wind to distribute the seed. Sunbirds perch with ease on the pedicels and probe the flowers to reach the nectar and pollinate the plant.
The bulb is traditionally used to seal leaking clay pots and medicinally to ease birth. Seed germinates easily but needs to be looked after carefully. Although it will take many years to flower, it is certainly worth the wait!

Other Brunsvigia to look out for Brunsvigia Natalensis with darker red flowers from October to Jananuary or Brunsvigia grandiflora with erect leaves also flowering in summer.

The dried flower head with interesting spindle shaped seed capsules, when strung with fairy lights, becomes a festive decoration with an African twist.

Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve in Howick is a good place to see Brunsvigia in flower.  Gates open 6am to 7pm, please register at office between 8am and 5pm, entrance fee is R25pp

Click on any of the links below to see another Dargle wildflower