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Useful Tropical Plants

Agapanthus africanus

(L.) Hoffman.

Amaryllidaceae

+ Synonyms

Agapanthus umbellatus L'Hér.

Common Name: African Lily

Agapanthus africanus
Cultivated ornamental plants
Photograph by: Peter A. Mansfeld
Creative Commons License
Agapanthus africanus Agapanthus africanus Agapanthus africanus Agapanthus africanus

General Information

African lily is an evergreen perennial plant, producing a rosette of leaves about 1 metre high from an underground bulb.
The plant is sometimes gathered from the wild for local medicinal use.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

73
Title
Flora of the Cape Peninsula.
Publication
 
Author
Adamson. and Salter.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
A good flora but rather short on details of habitat. Not for the casual reader.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

S. Africa - Cape Peninsula to Swellendam.

Habitat

Rocky sandstone slopes, usually in montane regions[
282
Title
The Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs
Publication
 
Author
Manning. J. Goldblatt. P. & Snijman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press, Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-547-0
Description
Excellent treatment of these plants, with good descriptions, habitat etc. Lots of high quality colour photographs.
], in areas of winter rainfall[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
]. Upper slopes of Table mountain and the southern mountains[
73
Title
Flora of the Cape Peninsula.
Publication
 
Author
Adamson. and Salter.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
A good flora but rather short on details of habitat. Not for the casual reader.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Bulb
Height1.00 m
PollinatorsBees
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Some forms of the plant tolerate several degrees of frost[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. They are best given a good mulch if temperatures lower than 0°c occur[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Succeed in most soils[
175
Title
Focus on Plants. Volume 5. (formerly 'Growing from seed')
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1991
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Corydalis spp.
], but prefers a light very well-drained porous soil with plenty of leaf-mold[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Plants need to be kept moderately dry during the growing season but with some moisture in winter[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
]. They only flower freely if growing in a very sunny position[
175
Title
Focus on Plants. Volume 5. (formerly 'Growing from seed')
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1991
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Corydalis spp.
]. Plants succeed in maritime gardens[
233
Title
Perennial Garden Plants
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons, London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0 460 86048 8
Description
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
]. The rhizomes are best planted only just below soil level - a mulch of gravel or stone chips will help to keep the crown of the plant free from excess moisture[
282
Title
The Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs
Publication
 
Author
Manning. J. Goldblatt. P. & Snijman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press, Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-547-0
Description
Excellent treatment of these plants, with good descriptions, habitat etc. Lots of high quality colour photographs.
].
This species does not usually do well in cultivation[
282
Title
The Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs
Publication
 
Author
Manning. J. Goldblatt. P. & Snijman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press, Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-547-0
Description
Excellent treatment of these plants, with good descriptions, habitat etc. Lots of high quality colour photographs.
]. In the wild it usually only flowers freely in the year following a bush fire[
282
Title
The Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs
Publication
 
Author
Manning. J. Goldblatt. P. & Snijman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press, Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-547-0
Description
Excellent treatment of these plants, with good descriptions, habitat etc. Lots of high quality colour photographs.
].
Hybridizes very freely with other members of this genus, some botanists say there is only one very variable species of Agapanthus[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Plants respond very well to division, usually flowering very freely in the year after division[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
]. It is recommended that plants are divided about every 4 years[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
Plants are usually pest and disease-free, although Agapanthus species in general are famous for harbouring snails amongst their foliage. These snails do not usually cause any damage to the plants themselves but go to neighbouring plants for food[
295
Title
PlantZAfrica.com
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.plantzafrica.com
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site giving detailed descriptions and uses of many S. African plants.
].
Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
233
Title
Perennial Garden Plants
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons, London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0 460 86048 8
Description
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
].
The flowering stems lean towards the sun[
175
Title
Focus on Plants. Volume 5. (formerly 'Growing from seed')
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1991
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Corydalis spp.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The roots are cardiac and stomachic[
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
]. They are used in the treatment of heart troubles and intestinal pain[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 18°c[
133
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1987
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
], do not sow it too thickly so that it is possible to grow the seedlings on in their pot without disturbing them for their first year of growth. Give occasional liquid feeds to make sure they do not become nutrient deficient. Divide the seedlings up into individual pots about 12 months after germination, grow them on for a further year and then plant them out into their permanent positions. Seedlings take 2 - 3 years to flower[
133
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1987
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
].
Division of offsets[
175
Title
Focus on Plants. Volume 5. (formerly 'Growing from seed')
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1991
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Corydalis spp.
]. Division is very easy in the growing season, the divisions can be planed straight out into their permanent positions if required.

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