South African Bulbs in Bloom

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    • Incredible contrasting colors, long fringe, and a subtle vanilla-like scent make this Ferraria crispa or 'spider iris' a bloom not to be missed in the Warm Temperate Pavilion of BBG. Photo by Rebecca BulleneIncredible contrasting colors, long fringe, and a subtle vanilla-like scent make this Ferraria crispa or 'spider iris' a bloom not to be missed in the Warm Temperate Pavilion of BBG. Photo by Rebecca Bullene
    • Gladiolus equitans blooms in the Warm Temperate Pavilion. Photo by Rebecca Bullene.Gladiolus equitans blooms in the Warm Temperate Pavilion. Photo by Rebecca Bullene.
    • Photo by Uli LorimerPhoto by Uli Lorimer
    • Photo by Uli Lorimer.Photo by Uli Lorimer.
    • A member of the Iris family, this S. African native Moraea atropunctata is a brand new addition to the Warm Temperate Pavilion in the Steinhardt Conservatory. Photo by Rebecca Bullene.A member of the Iris family, this S. African native Moraea atropunctata is a brand new addition to the Warm Temperate Pavilion in the Steinhardt Conservatory. Photo by Rebecca Bullene.
    • A South African native, this small but stunningly gorgeous Ferraria ferrariola Iris is one of many flowers blooming this February inside the Warm Temperate Pavilion at BBG. Photo by Rebecca BulleneA South African native, this small but stunningly gorgeous Ferraria ferrariola Iris is one of many flowers blooming this February inside the Warm Temperate Pavilion at BBG. Photo by Rebecca Bullene
    • Photo by Uli LorimerPhoto by Uli Lorimer
    • Another stunning member of the Iris family blooming in the Warm Temperate Pavilion of the Steinhardt Conservatory. Photo by Rebecca Bullene.Another stunning member of the Iris family blooming in the Warm Temperate Pavilion of the Steinhardt Conservatory. Photo by Rebecca Bullene.
    • The blooms of  Moraea ochroleuca  often only last a day or two and bloom in early spring. These beauties are blooming now in the Warm Temperate Pavilion of BBG. Photo by Rebecca BulleneThe blooms of Moraea ochroleuca often only last a day or two and bloom in early spring. These beauties are blooming now in the Warm Temperate Pavilion of BBG. Photo by Rebecca Bullene
    • A bright and beautiful Apricot-Tulip blooming in the Warm Temperate Pavilion. Photo by Rebecca BulleneA bright and beautiful Apricot-Tulip blooming in the Warm Temperate Pavilion. Photo by Rebecca Bullene
    • Photo by Uli LorimerPhoto by Uli Lorimer
    • Photo by Uli LorimerPhoto by Uli Lorimer
    • Photo by Dave AllenPhoto by Dave Allen
    • Photo by Uli LorimerPhoto by Uli Lorimer
    • Photo by Uli LorimerPhoto by Uli Lorimer
    • Photo by Uli Lorimer.Photo by Uli Lorimer.
    • Photo by Uli Lorimer.Photo by Uli Lorimer.
    • Photo by Uli Lorimer.Photo by Uli Lorimer.
    • Moraea aristata blooms in the Warm Temperate Pavilion. Photo by Rebecca Bullene.Moraea aristata blooms in the Warm Temperate Pavilion. Photo by Rebecca Bullene.

    BBG's special collection of South African bulbs are in bloom. While some of the plants begin to flower in December, the best time to see a diverse and beautiful display of these winter bloomers is February through March.

    Most of the geophytes (commonly called “bulbs”) found in BBG’s Warm Temperate Pavilion are native to South Africa, specifically to the Cape Floristic Region located on the country’s southwestern tip. The Cape Floral Region is a biodiversity hotspot. Within this relatively small land mass approximately 9,000 different species of native plants grow and it’s estimated that 70 percent of this flora is endemic, meaning it can only be found growing in this region.

    The Cape Floristic Region is home to an abundant diversity of geophytes. This special population has the capability to withstand the semiarid Mediterranean-type climate of dry, hot summers and cool winters with rain.

    The geophytes found in the Cape Floristic Region are remarkably adaptable to the area’s nutrient-poor soils and flourish from sandy beaches to rocky mountains. They flower in brilliant colors, some with sweet fragrances, to best attract pollinators during their short cycle of fertility.

    BBG’s South African geophytes collection contains around 150 species from 37 genera, mostly from the Iridacaeae family. To see a photo collage of some of the highlights of the collection, visit South African Bulb Photos.


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