14 May

Lovely and Unusual, Ornamental Plant: Boophane disticha

Boophane is a small genus of bulbous plants form South Africa where it is found indigenously in summer rainfall areas. The genus comprises of five or six species. The most popular and commonly grown is Boophane disticha which is known for its ornamental fan-shaped patterns of leaves. Almost all species of Boophane form unusually large bulbs that sprout to produce nice foliage and fragrant flowers though these plants take many years to bloom.

Boophane disticha

Boophane disticha, Image by Erick Lux

Boophane disticha, which is grown commercially, produces red or pink flowers that grow in small stalks. These attractive flowers emit strong fragrance. Flowering is usually followed by formation of grey-green leaves that are arranged in the shape of Chinese fan.

Boophane disticha can be propagated easily from bulbs that need to be sowed in a bit sandy but well-drained soil especially in colder climates.

The bulb of Boophane disticha is said to have poisonous effect on cattle. However, the plant has been used in Africa by indigenous people of Zulu in traditional medicine for inducing intoxication.

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