12 March 2014

It's March again.

On the sandy floodplain south of De Hoop vlei, this Haemanthus flower is pushing up. Only later the two broad, dark green leaves will appear, flat on the ground.

It's interesting that Amaryllidaceae have recalcitrant seeds. This sounds like it means they are stubbornly resistant to growing at all. Botanically, it actually refers to seeds that are not able to dry and will germinate immediately when ripe. This explains why Amaryllids all over the world flower just before the rainy season of their native habitat. Unlike most plants, the ripe seed could not survive even a single dry season.  Here in the winter rainfall areas of the Western Cape, that usually means the many and varied Amaryllidaceae appear in early March, often pushing up out of hard, dry ground.

I'm not sure why this species is named H. sanguineus, but I'd like to think that it was presumed sanguine to be waking right at the end of summer, confident that the winter rains will be along shortly. A good word that, sanguine. One doesn't see it nearly often enough any more.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, a very good word. A synonym: bullish. Not as elegant, but I like that too.