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Eucomis autumnalis

   (Family: Hyacinthaceae)
Afrikaans: Wildepynappel, Krulkoppie English: Pineapple Flower, Pineapple Lily Zulu: Umathunga  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Bulb
Height: 0.6m
Special properties:
  Frost Tolerant (light)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Preferred rainfall: Summer
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
  Loam (gritty, moist, and retains water easily)
  Bulb is toxic
Flowering time EDIT
x x                   x
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower shape
Flower type
  Flower info
  The inflorescence is a dense cylindrical raceme on a stout stalk, crowded with up to ±125 starry yellowish-green flowers with a tuft of leaf-like bracts at the tip. The inflorescence pushes the overall height of the plant up to ±50-60 cm. After pollination, whilst the seeds are developing inside the swelling ovaries, the flowers turn green and the inflorescence remains decorative into autumn.
Leaf type
Leaf arrangement
Leaf size 0750mm
  Leaf info EDIT
  Rosette of large, broad, soft-textured, fleshy, wavy-edged leaves, about 12-35 cm long x 60-75 cm wide
Fruit type EDIT
Fruit colour
Seed colour
  Seed info EDIT
  The fruit is a trilocular capsule containing shiny black rounded seeds.
Description EDIT
A deciduous, summer growing bulb.

Magnificent garden plant, well suited to pockets in the rockery, it can also be used in groups in the herbaceous border, in a wall border in cold climates, planted en masse, and in large containers. The flowers look good for many weeks in the garden, and last for a week or two in the vase. The fruiting inflorescence is also decorative and can be kept for up to a month in the vase.
Growing EDIT
Not difficult to grow and once established does not require much attention. Bulbs should be planted with their tops at or just below ground level, in rich soil, in full sun or partial sale. They will tolerate poor soil, but perform much better in fertile soil. They benefit greatly from a generous application of well-rotted compost every spring and ample water whilst in active growth during spring and summer. Although dormant in winter, they will tolerate winter irrigation, and winter rainfall, provided the soil is well drained. They are frost hardy and should survive a winter minimum of -7 C / 20 °F (zone 9), although in regions where frost is expected, it is advisable to plant them in a sheltered position, in tight clumps, in very well-drained soil, and to keep them as dry as possible and to cover them with a thick protective mulch of leaves / straw during dormancy.

Propagation is by offsets, seed, leaf cuttings and tissue culture.
Seed is sown in spring, in deep (±10 cm) containers in a well-drained seedling mix. Seed germinates readily in 4-6 weeks. Young bulbs can be planted into the garden in their third year when well-grown specimens may flower for the first time, although this species can take 4 to 5 seasons to flower.
Offsets are produced rather slowly, and are best removed while the plant is dormant in late autumn or winter, kept cool and dry and planted in the spring.
Bulbs can also be produced by taking leaf cuttings. While the plant is in active growth, an entire leaf can be removed and cut into approx. 5cm sections, each one 'planted' in sterilised well-drained potting soil and kept moist in a humid environment. Tiny bulbs should form after a month or two.
Sterilised bulb scales, leaf bases or flower stalks can be used in tissue culture.
Distribution EDIT
History EDIT
Used medicinally in South Africa. Decoctions of the bulb in water or milk are usually administered as enemas for the treatment of low backache, to assist in post-operative recovery, and to aid in healing fractures. Decoctions are also used for a variety of ailments, including urinary diseases, stomach ache, fevers, colic, flatulence, hangovers and syphilis, and to facilitate childbirth.

Several homoisoflavones are found in Eucomis autumnalis, and flavonoids are known for their anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic action. It also contains some steroidal triterpenoids and they are known to be beneficial in wound therapy.
Ecology EDIT
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