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Bowiea volubilis

   (Family: Hyacinthaceae)
Afrikaans: Knolklimop English: Climbing potato, Climbing onion, Zulu potato Xhosa: umagaqana  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Bulb
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (heavy)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Preferred position:
Full Sun
  All parts of the plant are extremely poisonous and internal use is potentially lethal.
Flowering time EDIT
x x x                  
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower shape
  Flower info
  This inflorescence produces many dozens to hundreds of tiny flowers, shaped like six pointed stars with greenish to greenish-white petals. The flowers are reminiscent of onion or garlic flowers. Periodically, plants will produce long
  Leaf info EDIT
  Apparently leafless, but seedlings in their earliest stage produce 3 or 4 long thin leaves 2 - 3 mm wide and as much as 10 cm long. These leaves survive only until a small bulb has developed and are seldom seen.
Fruit type EDIT
Seed colour
  Seed info EDIT
  Inconspicuous capsule 2x1 cm; seeds black, winged. March- April.
Description EDIT
This plant has a greenish-white, fleshy tuberous bulb, without any papery or fibrous outer scales. The upper ends of the fleshy scales form distinctive rings around the middle of the bulb, from where the thin green, leafless climbing and creeping flower stems arise.

It produces large onion-like bulbs which may measure from a few inches upwards to as much as 10 inches across (most of the plants produce bulbs from 2½ to 4 inches across).

Depending upon growing conditions, the bulbs may be uniformly pale green, or may be covered or partially covered with the dried remnants of outer leaves (much like an onion skin).

This is an interesting and attractive plant, and is quite easy to grow, well worth a place in any succulent collection.
Growing EDIT
Easy to grow and truly thrives on neglect.

In time, these bulbs eventually split to produce two bulbs: in time, some plants can produce numerous offsets, while others will tend to remain solitary, only producing offsets after its bulb has grown quit large.

Some growers report that these flowers readily set seed, which self sew into nearby pots, producing many new seedlings.
Distribution EDIT
Widely distributed in the eastern parts of South Africa, , mostly on the hillsides in the shade under trees or shrubs.
History EDIT
This plant has been used to treat a wide variety of ailments, including headaches. A hot water extract of the roasted bulb is taken as a purgative.
The fresh bulb is taken for oedema (dropsy) and infertility in women.
The fresh juice may be rubbed into the skin of a sick person or a decoction applied as a lotion for sore eyes.
A hot water extract of the fresh outer bulb scales is a Zulu remedy for ascites, sterility and bladder complaints.
Ecology EDIT
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