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3 years old seedling of Drimia multifolia.
Origin and Habitat: Southern Namibia, Namaqualand int the western Karoo and the southwest Cape to Breede River valley, South Africa.
Habitat and ecology: Succulent Karoo. Drimia multifolia grows on dolerite ridges and in poorly drained soils. Although likely to be locally threatened in the Breede River Valley due to urban development and agriculture, this species still has a very wide distribution occurring northwards into southern Namibia and it is not threatened over the majority of its range.
Description: Drimia multifolia is a small and rather beautiful bulbous geophyte up to 15 cm high that and has very numerous, spirally twisted, filiform, leaves.
Bulb: Underground, solitary, globose to ellipsoid, 2.5-3.5(-4) cm in diameter and up to 4.5 cm long, covered with membranous pallis reddish-brown tunics, often dividing and forming small clumps.
Shoot: Surrounded by 1-several elongated, membranous, fluted, sheathing scales 0.5-1.4 cm long.
Leaves: 30 to 50 synanthous (leaves and flowers expand simultaneously), filiform, thin, 7-10(-20) cm long, 0.2-0.5 mm broad, green, terete, more or less coiled.
Inflorescence (raceme): Peduncle high erect, 7-12 cm long, raceme exserted, firm about 12-15(-30)-flowered. Scape naked. Lower bracts spurred at the base, triangular-lanceolate to heart-shaped, 3-4 mm long. Pedicels patent-erect, 4-8 mm long, thin.
Flowers: Typical, with sweet scent resembling that of Lippia citriodora. Perianth stellate. Tepals free, elliptic, 10-12 mm long, 4.5-5 mm wide, inner face white with brownish median stripes, outer face pale lilac, apex obtuse. Stamens (5-)6-8 mm long. Filaments thread-like, of the same lenght. Ovary 4 mm long, oblong-ellipsoid. Style erect or declined, 3 mm long (or longer than stamens?) Stigma slightly trilobate.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) A. Amelia Obermeyer, “The genus Sypharissa (Liliaceae)” Article (PDF Available) in Bothalia - African Biodiversity and Conservation 13(1/2) · December 1980. Web: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/287922051_The_genus_Sypharissa_Liliaceae
2) Urs Eggli, “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons” Springer Science & Business Media, 6 December 2012
3) South African Museum, “Annals of the South African Museum: Annale Van Die Suid-Afrikaanse Museum", Volume 40” The Museum., 1956
4) Goldblatt, P. and Manning, J.C. 2000. “Cape Plants: A conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa”. Strelitzia 9. National Botanical Institute, Cape Town.
5) Hilton-Taylor, C. 1996. “Red data list of southern African plants”. Strelitzia 4. South African National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
6) Raimondo, D., von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. and Manyama, P.A. 2009. “Red List of South African Plants”. Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.
7) Victor, J.E. & Turner, R.C. 2006. Drimia multifolia (G.J.Lewis) Jessop. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2017.1. Accessed on 2018/11/11
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