Friday, 1 July 2016

Bowiea volubilis

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 !
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 .

1 comment:

  1. The plant next to the box on the right is a Kangaroo Paw Plant which a friend gave me , I have yet to read up about this strange thing . Sorry to confuse you jumped in ( as kangaroos do ) while I was taking the picture ! LOL !