schweizerin's picture

Does anyone know what this plant is?

Observed: 8th May 2011 By: schweizerin
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Def not a fox-tail lily (erymurus). Not hardy, have tried. Flower stem can grow up to 4 foot high; flowers May; fleshy white roots, bulbils root and grow alongside parent. Only ever seen one elsewhere - conservatory at Hergest Gardens ( Bank's family)Kington. Their gardener can't identify it either. I have propogated these since 1987.

  • Sea Squill (Urginea maritima)
    Confidence: It might be this.
  • False Sea Onion (Ornithogalum caudatum)
    Confidence: It's likely to be this, but I can't be certain.
  • Albuca bracteata
    Confidence: I'm as sure as I can be.
    Likely ID
    Albuca bracteata
    Confidence: I'm as sure as I can be.
Species interactions

No interactions present.


Chalkie's picture

Still don't know...

...but the 'pregnant onion' does look even closer to the original photo - and the description of the budding bulb fits well too. (Also the Urginea description seemed to suggest it was autumn flowering, which doesn't seem to fit - although plants growing out of their natural habitat might well flower at odd times.)

And who wouldn't want to be able to say they had a pregnant onion!

steve_t's picture

Flower colour

As well as that I think the flower colour fits Ornithogalum caudatum better, Urginea maritima is either plain white or has reddish stripes on the tepals, not green. Although as you say moving plants from their natural habitat can affect their growth patterns and appearance. And I agree pregnant onion has a better ring to it than False Sea Onion.

schweizerin's picture

my plant

Just googled images and you are spot-on. Thank you... has been plaguing me for years and we have a qualified horticulturist in the family and he didn't know what it was. Thank you.

martinjohnbishop's picture

The bulb of Urginea is covered in loose brown scales

not white as here. Compare

Chalkie's picture

May your pregnant onions last for many more years

Well done steve_t!

martinjohnbishop's picture

Synonyms from Kew

Albuca bracteata (Thunb.) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt, Taxon 58: 93 (2009).

Homotypic Synonyms:
* Ornithogalum bracteatum Thunb., Prodr. Pl. Cap.: 62 (1794).

Fenelonia bracteata (Thunb.) Raf., Atlantic J. 1: 145 (1832).

Heterotypic Synonyms:
Ornithogalum longibracteatum Jacq., Hort. Bot. Vindob. 3: 18 (1777).

Ornithogalum caudatum Aiton, Hort. Kew. 1: 442 (1789).

Ornithogalum massonii J.F.Gmel., Syst. Nat. ed. 13[bis]: 551 (1791), nom. illeg.

Ornithogalum scilloides Jacq., Pl. Hort. Schoenbr. 1: 46 (1797).

Eliokarmos caudatum (Aiton) Raf., Fl. Tellur. 2: 24 (1837).

Urophyllon caudatum (Aiton) Salisb., Gen. Pl.: 36 (1866), nom. inval.

Urginea mouretii Batt. & Trab., Bull. Soc. Bot. France 68: 438 (1921 publ. 1922).

Loncomelos caudatum (Aiton) Dostál, Folia Mus. Rerum Nat. Bohemiae Occid., Bot. 21: 15 (1984).

Stellarioides longibracteata (Jacq.) Speta, Stapfia 75: 173 (2001).