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Lachenalia mutabilis

Lachenalia mutabilis

A second thank you in the span of three days to van+s@Flickr for contributing a photo (original image | BPotD Flickr Group Pool). This plant was cultivated indoors at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Thanks again, van+s!

Pretty as it is, this particular lachenalia has the potential to escape from cultivation and become weedy, as has occurred in Western Australia. The fact that it is common and widespread in its native Cape region of South Africa serves as a hint that it is adaptable, and thus likely to pose problems in non-native environments with conditions similar to the Cape.

The epithet “mutabilis” means “changeable”, in this case referring to the inflorescence – the immature stalk and flowers start blue and turn yellowish-green or pinkish as they age. For photographs of the entire inflorescence with the range of colours, see this page from the International Bulb Society and the Lachenalia page from the Pacific Bulb Society's Wiki.

Photography resource link: Nature's Best Photography Magazine's International Awards – scroll down in the middle frame of the page for links to the 2004-2006 award winners. Also, there's a Picture of the Week feature on the site that might interest you.

4 Comments

Lachenalia mutabilis - Z9 - RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiths

Interesting to read that it can be weedy. This one certainly looked delicate in person - coddled in a greenhouse and all.

I don't think it is a major weed, but one of the other Lachenalia is causing problems, see http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/invasive/weeds/weeds-alert/pubs/l-reflexa.pdf

I appreciate the explanation for mutabilis in a botanical name. Now I understand why one of my roses is called chinensis mutabilis.

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