This blog is dedicated to plants from desert regions around the world as well as plants that have adapted to withstand arid conditions, but do not occur in real deserts. Many of the plants are found in arid semi-desert regions. There will be a greater emphasis on succulent plants, but others will also be included. This blog deals with desert plants of the Americas, Africa, Arabia and others. We are situated in South Africa and South African plants are likely to feature more dominantly. The pictures taken are from our private botanical desert garden at Leopoort near Oudtshoorn, from plants in nature, as well as other collections.

Also visit out sister blog Desert Plants Images

Haemanthus coccineus is widely distributed in mainly the winter rainfall areas of south western Namibia, western South Africa as well as the south coast, Little Karoo and Eastern Cape.

The bulbs which grow to about tennis ball size occur on rocky areas, sandy plains and slopes and mountains in a wide variety of habitats. The plants are winter growers and usually have one pair of leaves that vary in size and shape. The leaves often lie flat on the ground but in some areas can also grow fairly upright. Some bulb have exceptionally large leaves while others have not.

Haemanthus coccineus lose there leaves in late spring and the bulbs remain dormant during the dry summer months.

At the end of the dormant period the beautiful red flowers appear from late February to April. The two leaves start pushing out of the ground after flowering.

Immediately after flowering the red to whitish seeds start to develop. The seeds ripen quickly and are ready to sow as soon as they fall from the peduncle. Like in some other members of the family Amarylidaceae the seeds germinate unaided and can be sown on top of a sandy soil to which some compost has been added. It is advisable to cover the seeds with some sand and/or pebbles. This helps the roots to strike. Water regularly during the winter months. The bulbs grow relatively fast and flowering plants can be produced after three years.

Although the bulbs are very poisonous to humans, indigenous tribes have used the leaves as a dressing for septic wounds and preparations of the bulbs were also used as a diuretic and for the treatment of asthma.

Haemanthus coccineus is commonly known as Maart Blom (Afr.)( translate March flower), April Fool. Plantzafrica also mentiones the names: Blood flower, paintbrush lily, powderpuff lily, king-of-Candia, pincushion (Eng.); bergajuin, bloedblom, rooikwas, bobbejaansool, koning-van-Kandiƫ, Maartblom, misryblom, misryersblom, skoensole, velskoenblaar (Afr.)

Adult seed grown plants of Haemanthus coccineus are available from Contact

Haemanthus coccineus flower.

Haemanthus coccineus flower close-up.

Haemanthus coccineus stems. The stems often have spots.

Haemanthus coccineus seed. The colour varies from whitish to red.

From our Haemanthus bookstore:


  1. a bear April 23, 2012 at 6:52 AM  

    Thanks, this is the best info i have found so far on being able to tell when a seed is ripe and ready for sowing. They don't need any form of scarification? I hand pollinated my two, just a little bit, and hence have just a few seeds- it appears they missed out from the myriad of bees we get here. Next year I will keep a better eye on them. but thanks fo r the info, I am very keen to make more baby haemanthus