Boophone disticha


Amaryllis disticha
Boophane disticha
Brunsvigia disticha
Buphane disticha
Haemanthus distichus


Boophane disticha’s habitats are tropical and subtropical, growing in dry savannas, grasslands and glades. It is endemic from Angola, Welwitsch and the mountains round Lakes Nyassa, Thomson and Tanganyika, to Cameron.


Boophane disticha is characterised by its fan-like appearance, due to is numerous, ensiform leaves; these are glaucous, leathery, up to 50 cm long, with hairy margins. The bulb is subglobose, with hundreds tunics and a brown appearance, and half-protruding from the ground. Flowers form a dense, pink to bright red umbel.


Boophane disticha is a pretty easy-to-cultivate plant. Bulbs should be plant in a slightly acid medium substratum, comprising equal parts of compost and sand (that can be river or silca-kind). Necks has to be at, or just below soil level, and so it can remain for many years. Use pots with an excellent drainage and a diameter of at least 25 cm. The plant’s winter rest is imprendiscible, and it has to be kept almost dry B. disticha is theoretically hardy to -5°C, but is not very frost tolerant: in coldi winter climates, it is better to cultivate them in containers in cool areas or greenhouse. It grows at its best in semi-shaded area, but you can put it in full sun too.


Propagation is usually done by seeds: these should be sown as soon as they are removable from the Boophane fruits. They will need two months to germinate, and up to five years to bloom for the first time.


Due to its containt in alkaloids and its analgesic power, Boophone disticha was a main ingredient in African traditional medicine.

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