Your support is critical to our success.
This South African bulb produces stemless inflorescence, nestled within leaves flat on the ground. The flowers are a rounded mass of erect, off-white stamens.
Origin and Habitat: Massonia pustulata is endemic to the Western Cape (Cape provinces and Namaqualand), South Africa
Habitat and ecology: This species inhabit areas that are hot and dry during the summer, it produces flowers in winter.
- Massonia pustulata Jacq.
Massonia pustulata Jacq.
Collectanea [Jacquin] 4: 177 (1791).
ENGLISH: blistered massonia
Description: Massonia pustulata is a small interesting bulb from South Africa to 10 cm tall and broad. It begins growth in early autumn, producing a pair of short, broad, strap-like blistered leaves that have a roughened surface with linear ridges of pustules. These lie flat on the ground and from between them develops a stemless spherical head of tiny white flowers, which may be pink in bud. These have noticeable protruding stamens since the segments are quite small.
Derivation of specific name: The specific name 'pustulata' refers to the high number of small swellings similar to blisters or pimples (pustules) on the surface of the leaves.
Bulb: Ovoid, 2,5 cm in diameter with permanent roots which last over the dead season.
Leaves: Two,opposite, horizontal, depressed, broad oblong to nearly orbicular 12-15 cm long, 7-10 cm broad, acute, narrowed to the base, their upper side distantly ribbed, rough and covered with innumerable small prominent pustules or tubercles.
Inflorescences (capitulum): Very shortly peduncled (virtually stalkless), under 5 cm in diameter. Outer bracts ovate-lanceolate, 2.5 cm long and closely laid over each. Outer pedicels 6-8 mm long.
Flowers: Perianth creamy-white, greenish-white or a rather attractive pinkish colour in selected forms, 25 mm long; segments linear-lanceolate, reflexing, shorter than the tube, rim of the nectary of a deeper green than the rest. Filaments slender, whitish, about 12 mm long, anthers small, oblong. The stamens are longer than the perianth, giving the flower the appearance of a rounded, spiky brush-head. Style tall slender and white the sigma three cleft fringed.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) J. G. Baker “Flora Capensis”, 1897
2) Richard L. Doutt “Cape Bulbs” Timber Press, 1994
3) Brian Mathew, “Growing Bulbs: The Complete Practical Guide” Timber Press, 1997
4) F. N. Hepper, “Kew: Royal Botanic Gardens : gardens for science & pleasure” Stemmer House Publishers, 1 August 1982
5) Abraham Rees, “The Cyclopædia: Or, Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Literature” Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, 1819
6) Isaac Bayley Balfour, Roland Thaxter, Vernon Herbert Blackman, “Annals of Botany”, Volume 22, Academic Press, 1908
7) American Horticultural Society, “American Horticulturist” American Horticultural Society, 1990
8) Foden, W. & Potter, L. 2005. Massonia pustulata Jacq. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2017.1. Accessed on 2018/08/26
9) Fl. Pl. South Africa 23: t.915 (1943)
10) List South. African Succ. Pl. : 83 (1997).
11) The Alpine Garden Society, “Massonia pustulata - plant of the month Dec 2015”, web: http://www.alpinegardensociety.net/plants/plant-portraits/Massonia+pustulata+plant+of+the+month+Dec+/100/
12) Wikipedia contributors. "Massonia pustulata." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 23 Apr. 2018. Web. 26 Aug. 2018.
Cultivation and Propagation: Massonia pustulata flowers in mid- to late winter and is as easy of culture as any other bulb. It is adapted to a mediterranean climate - winter growing and summer dormant. Due to its relatively small size, Massonia pustulata makes an excellent pot subject. There are also some attractive leaf forms in cultivation
Watering: .Du not allow to dry out too much during the active growing period.
Hardines: In temperate zones it requires protection as it does not survive being frozen. Its small size makes it a suitable subject for a pot under glass.
Propagation: Off-sets are produced but the quickest way to increase this species is by seed which germinates freely and usually flowers in its third season. Sow seeds in late summer, barely covering seeds.
|Back to Massonia index|
|Back to Hyacinthaceae index|
|Back to Bulbs Encyclopedia index|