Haemanthus coccineus (commonly known as the Blood Flower or Paintbrush Lily), is a bulbous geophyte in the genus Haemanthus, native to Southern Africa. The generic name Haemanthus is derived from the Greek words haima for "blood" and anthos for "flower"; coccineus is the Latin word for red or scarlet. In the Afrikaans language it is known as Bergajuin, Bloedblom, and many other vernacular names.
The Blood Lily is native throughout the winter rainfall region in Southern Africa - from the southern parts of Namibia, to South Africa in the Cape Peninsula, to the Keiskamma River in the Eastern Cape. It is an adaptable species, growing in a wide range of soils derived from sandstones, quartzites, granites, shales and limestones. It will survive annual rainfall ranging from 100–1,100 millimetres.
The large (up to 10 cm diameter) flowerheads of Haemanthus coccineus emerge between February and April in the Southern Hemisphere, with scarlet spathe valves on them like bright shaving brushes, making it a striking plant. The flowers are soon followed by translucent, fleshy berries. There are usually two very large leaves per bulb, and occasionally three, these leaves appearing only after flowering has occurred. We have it growing in our garden quite happily and it always attracts a lot of attention when it is in bloom.
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