Bowiea volubilis is native from Namaqualand, a region between Namibia and South Africa, but is widespread in most of Tropical Africa, until northern Tanzania. In its natural habitat, it grows often hidden between the rocks, partially exposed to sunlight.
Bowiea volubilis is a succulent plant composed of a big, globose, green bulb from which, every year, a green thin branched stem. The bulb is covered by the filamentous branches that are able to wrap around any support. Flowers are small, green and they develop from the top of the branches between January and February in its natural habitat and in summer in Northern Hemisphere. This plant hasn’t got leaves! The photosyntesis and all other leaves functions are performed by the stems. The growth season is in winter. During the summer, Bowiea volubibilis goes through a vegetative rest period.
Bowiea Volubilis can stand a minimum winter temperature of 13°C, so it’s easier to keep it indoors.
It prefers a bright spot but it’s better not to put it under direct sunlight. The ideal substrate should be a mix of sand, soil from decomposition of mature leaves, old fertilized soil in equal parts, and it should be always well-drained. The bulb shouldn’t be completely covered of soil: at least half of it should come out from the ground. Watering regularly during the winter, and reducing
gradually in summer, until the stems dry up.
Propagation is by seeds or taking off the little bulbs which sometimes form at the base of the main one.
The species name Bowiea is named after the collector James Bowie.
The common name of Bowiea volubis are Zulu Potato, Sea Onion, Climbing Onion, Climbing Green Lily.