Albuca namaquensis


Albuca ausensis
Albuca avasimontana
Albuca circinata
Dipcadi ausense
Dipcadi avasimontanum
Ornithogalum namaquense


Albuca namaquensis, originating from the Eastern Cape in South Africa, can be found growing in sandy soil along the coastal regions extending from the Southern suburbs of Port Elizabeth to the Sardinia Bay Nature Reserve. This species exhibits its blossoms between November and March, adding a burst of color during this timeframe.


Albuca namaquensis, known as Coastal Albuca, exhibits a remarkable array of natural variations, with Albuca circinata being one of its local or morphological forms. This plant grows from bulbs and undergoes a period of dormancy after flowering, shedding its leaves during this time. The flower stalk, reaching up to 350 mm in length, remains unbranched. The elegant flowers, hanging gracefully or nodding, showcase hues of green and pale mustard, creating a visually striking display that is truly captivating. The bulb of Albuca namaquensis is globose, partially exposed above the ground, and tends to form clusters. Its tunics are white and membranous. Several grass-like leaves emerge from the bulb, measuring 15-23 cm in length and 2 mm in diameter. They stand upright, appearing smooth and straight or with delightful curls and spiraled tips. The degree of spiraling varies depending on the clone and the amount of sunlight received during leaf growth.The inflorescence, or raceme, features a hairless peduncle that enlarges near the base, reaching heights of up to 35 cm. The raceme itself is densely packed with a few flowers, while the erect to reclined pedicels measure 12-18 mm in length. The bracts are ovate with pointed tips. The campanulate perianth spans 12-16 mm, with outer tepals displaying ochre tones and olive-green keels, while inner tepals are oblong and range from bright yellow to dull yellow-green with green keels. All stamens bear anthers, and the prismatic style matches the ovary in length. Additionally, the plant emits a pleasant fragrance.


Albuca namaquensis, originating from the winter rainfall regions of southwestern Africa, unveils its captivating display of miniature whirlwinds of leaves in early winter. For optimal leaf curling, providing ample light is recommended. This species thrives even more splendidly in hot and dry environments. However, cultivating Albuca namaquensis successfully over a prolonged period can prove challenging. As a winter-growing and summer-dormant plant, it requires almost dry conditions during dormancy to prevent bulb shrinkage and rot. Its summer rest should be absolute, awaiting the cooling effects of autumn before initiating new foliage. During the heat of summer, this plant may or may not exhibit foliage. If foliage is present, it may appear less attractive, but as long as the bulb remains firm, the plant is in good health and will rejuvenate once new foliage emerges in autumn. Albuca namaquensis is a superb addition to southern rock gardens. Exposure-wise, this species prefers some direct sun, although it can scorch in hot, sunny, and dry locations. Watering should be done sparingly during growth, as Albuca namaquensis is a water-wise plant. The curling of leaf tips is influenced by weather conditions, with cool and dry conditions promoting curling, while warm and moist conditions result in erect, straight, and uncurled leaf tips. Once the flowers begin to appear, watering should be reduced to avoid rot. If the plants dry out excessively, they will enter a dormant state.


Propagation of Albuca namaquensis can be accomplished through division or seeds. Seed germination is generally straightforward. For optimal results, it is advisable to propagate seeds during autumn through winter, using a blend of moist peat and perlite as the growing medium. To retain moisture, cover the pot and plant with a plastic bag secured tightly by a rubber band. This prevents the moisture from escaping. Place the pot in an area with indirect sunlight or under a fluorescent light source. Once the plant has established growth, it can be repotted into its regular potting mix. In the case of division or removing offsets, it is recommended to pot the separated plant or offsets in their regular potting mix.


The name “Albuca” is derived from the Latin word “albus,” which means “white.” This likely refers to the white color of the tunics covering the bulb of the plant. “Namaquensis” refers to the region where the plant is found, the Namaqualand region of southwestern Africa. This name pays homage to the plant’s native habitat. The flowers of Albuca namaquensis are not only visually appealing but also attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. These visitors play a vital role in the plant’s reproductive cycle, ensuring the production of seeds and the continuation of the species.

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