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Haemanthus sanguineus
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Distribution: Africa: South Africa: Eastern Cape: Western Cape:


Haemanthus sanguineus is widely distributed in mainly the winter rainfall areas of South Africa from Clanwilliam to Port Elizabeth.

The bulbs which grow to about tennis ball size occur on rocky areas, sandy plains and slopes and mountains in a wide variety of habitats. The plants are winter growers and usually have one pair of leaves that vary in size and shape. The leaves often lie flat on the ground but in some areas can also grow fairly upright. Some bulb have exceptionally large leaves while others have not.

Haemanthus sanguineus lose there leaves in late spring and the bulbs remain dormant during the dry summer months.

At the end of the dormant period the beautiful red flowers appear from late February to April. The two leaves start pushing out of the ground after flowering.

Immediately after flowering the red to whitish seeds start to develop. The seeds ripen quickly and are ready to sow as soon as they fall from the peduncle. Like in some other members of the family Amarylidaceae the seeds germinate unaided and can be sown on top of a sandy soil to which some compost has been added. It is advisable to cover the seeds with some sand and/or pebbles. This helps the roots to strike. Water regularly during the winter months. The bulbs grow relatively fast and flowering plants can be produced after three years.

Although the bulbs are very poisonous to humans, indigenous tribes have used the leaves as a dressing for septic wounds and preparations of the bulbs were also used as a diuretic and for the treatment of asthma.

Haemanthus sanguineus is commonly known as Maart Blom (Afr.)( translate March flower), April Fool. Plantzafrica also mentiones the names: Blood flower, paintbrush lily, powderpuff lily, king-of-Candia, pincushion (Eng.); bergajuin, bloedblom, rooikwas, bobbejaansool, koning-van-KandiŽ, Maartblom, misryblom, misryersblom, skoensole, velskoenblaar (Afr.),



The bulbs are easily confused with the similar looking Haemanthus coccineus and the differences are not always clear.


Haemanthus sanguineus Haemanthus sanguineus Haemanthus sanguineus Haemanthus sanguineus
Flowers. The reddish or whitish fruit has a fleshy outer layer with the brown seeds inside. Peduncle. Flowers from close-by.
Haemanthus sanguineus
Leaves of Oudtshoorn form.



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