Drimia undata subsp. caeculi
Urginea undulata subsp. caeculi
Urginea undulata var. caeculi
Drimia undulata is widespread in Northern Africa, Israel, Spain and Italy, growing in a well-drained soil in environments with scarce rainfall and plenty of sun.
Drimia undulata is a bulbous, perennial plant, particularly appreciated among caudiciform plants lovers for its small bulbs (up to 5 centimeters in width), and its beautiful leaves with wavy edges. Actually, however, the bulb of D. undulata cannot be defined as a caudex: it’s simply a bulb. The difference between a caudex and a bulb lies in the fact that the latter is also equipped with modified leaves called cataphylls, in which the nutrients are stocked, while the former is simply an enlarged, basal part of the stem. By the way the two different organs share the same function: the storage of nutrients and water against tough period and, especially, to face drought. The bulbs of D. undulata are very beautiful: they are brown or green and are usually visible, with a few centimeters coming out of the soil. On the surface of the bulb there’s a white, papery layer, which is the tunic of the bulb. Leaves form a tuft at the top of the bulb. When they grow, they are arranged radially, in a wide, open rosette-shaped pattern, like a “wheel” of leaves. They are green with wavy edges: that’s the reason for the name “Undulata”. Leaves are produced in early Spring while blossoming occurs during the driest periods in Summer. Flowers are beautifull and may remind, somehow, hyacinth flowers: they are grouped in a panicle at the top of an elongated, central stalk. The petals are pinkish-violet, 6 for each flowers. An interesting fact is that, in Drimia’s flowers, the petals should be called “Tepals”. That’s because, in this genus, there isn’t the distinction between petals and sepals (sepals are the green “petals” that usually form the calyx, the green part that can be found above the petals in normal flowers). This is a feature common in many flowering monocotyledons, such as lilies, hyacinths and also garlic and onion! Above each tepal is present a beautiful, violet stamen, with the terminal part of a beautiful bright green (the stamen is the male part of the flowers).
The cultivation of Drimia undulata is not so difficult. Here below are our cultivation tips:
It requires a well-drained soil with a strong organic component, where the bulb can be planted underground or simply leaned on the surface: it will in any case be able to root.
In Summer it should be given some cactus-specific and succulent fertilizer.
Put it in half shade: pay attention to the abrupt transitions from shade to direct light.
Better to keep it in pot indoors, as it will start to have problems with temperatures below 10ºC.
During the growing season, water it moderately, waiting for the soil to dry up before each new watering. After flowering, when the flower stalk starts to dry out, gradually reduce watering until Winter: start again when the sticks start to develop again at the end of Winter or in Spring.
Propagation can occur either by seed or by bulbs. Propagation by bulb is obviously the simplest and most used.
The name “Drimia” comes from an ancient Greek word meaning “bitter” or “acrid”, referring to the root, which is bitter if eatten. The species name “Undulata”, instead, comes from the wavy edges of the leaves, which makes this plant very appreciated among succulent collectors.
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