Midlands Wildflower for July – Apodolirion buchananii

Common Name: Natal crocus, Zulu name: icukudwane.

Apodolirion.res

This enchanting little bulb (part of the Amaryllidaceae family) is one of the first grassland flowers to bloom in late winter.  Usually very obvious when fields have been burnt, but the small, solitary, white flowers are also easy to spot in dry, unburnt grass, as in the picture – the little flecks of white can be seen from afar as it is generally found in large colonies.  Six species occur in South Africa, this being the only one found in KZN. If you get down on your knees, you will find the flowers are sweetly scented.  The deeply buried bulb, produces a couple of grass-like leaves after flowering. In traditional medicine, bulb decoctions are taken as purgatives or administered as enemas or stomach complaints.   Apodolirion doesn’t do well in garden conditions, so don’t be tempted to dig one up. Actually, don’t be tempted to dig up ANY flowers from the veld or forest.

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