ISI 2009-21. Freesia viridis Baker

The tightly equitant (fan-like) arrangement and undulate margins of the ribbon-like leaves of this winter growing bulb are what first caught my attention poking out of an isolated outcrop of limestone. At first I took it to be a dwarf Gladiolus, until it flowered in cultivation a few years later. The odd greenish flowers with long rather sinuous burgundy tubes were clearly not those of a glad. To my surprise it turned out to be an understated xerophytic ally of the popular garden freesias, this one ranging throughout the winter rainfall parts of South Africa and Namibia. The original two plants were pollinated to produce a number of seedlings that have been further divided. HBG 98583, divisions of J. Trager 97-202 (and progeny), collected 19 Aug 1997, at Klipbok, in the Little Hellskloof region of the eastern Richtersveld, Northern Cape, South Africa. $6.

Photo © 2009 by John N. Trager. Images may not be used elsewhere without permission.

Published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal, Vol. 81 (2), March - April, 2009