Friday, 1 July 2016
I have been searching for a Bowiea volubilis for a very long time . I finally found one and snapped it up .
The parcel arrived and my first thought was how heavy it was !
Beautifully wrapped , my hands trembling with excitement !
Not a cactus , but equally as weird !
Bowiea volubilis is quite an unusual plant from South and Eastern parts of Africa . Think Zimbabwe ,Tanzania , Angola , Mozambique ,Uganda , Namibia and Swaziland ....wow !
London born James Bowie 1789-1869 appointed botanical collector for The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew and brave explorer , well I think he was , expeditions and adventures , travelling through the wild lands of Africa and Brazil in those times .
This was one of the plants that he brought back to Kew and in time the genus was named after him - Bowiea .... and volubilis - meaning twisting /enveloping .
Now commonly known as The Sea Onion , because it looks like an onion .
But it isn't an onion and definitely not edible , containing cardiac glycosides , it is very poisonous plant ..all parts of it !
So there it sits , beautifully onion like , dormant all through the Winter . ( UK )
Why called the Sea Onion ?
In the Spring it puts out a little green shoot, that soon grows into it volubilis , sprawling , sea weedy like vine .
The gentleman that I bought it from tells me that he uses coir for his plants .
Bowiea volubilis in the wild grows in peat.... I dont want to use peat if I can help it and coir is a peat substitute .
I couldn't find coir in time ...and had to use these two above products mixed with some horticultural grit . I thought that multi-purpose compost might be too rich for it and so a seed and cutting compost ,which does have a little peat added , some perlite for air and the grit for drainage might be the best compromise .
I,ll see how the plant gets on with it and maybe change it later on .
I love the fragrance of the earth !
I am amazed at the amount of vine all coming from one shoot in the middle .
It is going to need some form of support , a trellis or mini wigwam .
A goodly handful of horticultural grit to surround it . just in case of any rogue snail .
I am told that in time the onion like caudex will divide .
Another way that it can be propagated is from seeds ....I look forward to seeing its little green/white flowers .
I am still on the look out for seeds , just for the fun of seeing them germinate !
I am so delighted to have this in my collection ..very happy me .
Now to find a trellis for it to climb up .