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Century plant

Boophone disticha

Tumbleweed, Sore-eye flower (Eng.), Seeroogblom, Perdespook (Afr.)

Also known as Century plant, this large bulbous species can grow for over 100 years. Originating from South Africa, it is well known for its poisonous bulb and unique leaves arranged in a fan shape. This species only produces one scented inflorescence and flowering is completed before seasonal leaf production. After flowering, to distribute seeds and reproduce, the fruiting heads stiffen and elongate around 30cm. Then the fruiting head will separate from the flowering stalk, where it is carried by light breezes, scatters seeds as it moves. It may take up to 15 years to reach maturity, but this plant is capable of lasting over 100 years and could outlive most humans!

Planning

Difficulty
Moderate
Flowering time
Spring
Fruiting time
Summer

Propagation

Seed
In nature, the dried out flowers release seeds, and so it propagates. If planting a bulb ensure that at least two-thirds of the bulb is above the ground.

Special features

Attracts useful insects
Bees and flies.

Geography

Origin
Southern Africa
Natural climate
Dry winterrain areas.

Environment

Light
Full Sun
Soil moisture
Dry
Soil type
Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Half-Hardy

Uses

Medicinal
The Century plant is used in traditional medicine to cure a number of ailments. It may be applied to boils and abscesses, it may be used to alleviate pain, treat insomnia and headaches amongst others.

Personality

Family
Amaryllidaceae
Flower colour
The colour varies from light pink to red., Red
Scent
Mild

Problems

Rare

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