}

November 2, 2011

Vallota Angina

A CYRTANTHUS ELATUS CROSS ( ONCE KNOWN AS VALLOTA)  BLOOM MOST EVERY AUTUMN. I HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS EXACT CROSS ANYWHERE ( MOST LIKELY WITH C. FALCATUS)  WITH PENDANT BLOSSOMS, BUT IT PERFORMS WELL FOR ME UNDER GLASS.
Be still my beating heart - a rare Cyrtanthus elatus cross ( AKA Vallota Lily) , a bulb from a private breeders collection which I acquired from a rare bulb auction sponsored by the International Bulb Society ( IBS) at the Huntington Botanical Garden way back in 2000 has bloomed for me every year except the past two. It had not bloomed for the past two years, since I had divided the pot which had become crowded with bulbs and offsets. This autumn, all of my three pots are blooming. I don't understand why this is the only Cyrtanthus in my collection which I can bring into bloom, but it is a consistent and repeat bloomer for me, if only I could get one of my other species to perform as well.

If you are not familiar with the genus Cyrtanthus ( and let's face it, unless you are a plant or bulb collector, you probably have not heard of them), they are a bulb plant, a close relative of the Amaryllis and a native to the cape area of southern Africa where there are more than 60 species. Cytanthus generally bloom only after a fire has burned their habitat, hence their common name of Fire Lily, and since many have red flowers, the name seems pretty appropriate. The genus has been grown horticulturally for nearly 200 years, but today it is rarely found in most collections.

In the 1960's, Cyrtanthis elatus was a common offering in many plant and seed catalogs, commonly sold as Vallota Lily, a name no longer used by botanists, the bulb could be had for a few dollars from even the most discount of catalogs.

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