Monday, 21 March 2016 15:23

Pineapple flower

Written by  Sue Oxborrow
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Pineapple flower Jack Latti

 

Although the Eucomis autumnalis grows well in suburban gardens, its natural habitat is usually in the rocky ridges of the Magaliesberg, where there is sheltered moist habitat for it to grow.

It has a fairly widespread distribution in this region, as well as in the other northern provinces of South Africa. In the summer flowering season, the Wildepynappel really does look like a plant with a pineapple as a flower! Its upright stem that can get up to 1 metre in height, holds the flower with its overall pineapple shape, that has numerous short stems that end in a burst of whitish-pale green petals. Above the flower, the stem ends in a cluster of green leafy bracts which, if one uses one’s imagination, looks like a crown. The hairless strap-shaped leaves of this plant grow out in a rosette shape, the leaves often with wavy margins (edges).

Eucomis autumnalis subsp clavata verlorenvallei judd kirkel

Photo by Judd Kirkel, sourced from Operation Wildflower

The pineapple flower is a member of the Liliaceae (lily) family that has over a thousand species globally. A feature of the lily family is that the plants are either bulbous or rhizomous. Aloes and succulents are included in this family and are commonly found in South Africa.


References:
Vincent Carruthers. 2000. The Magaliesberg.
Braam van Wyk and Sasa Malan. 1998. Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of the Highveld.
National Botanical Gardens of South Africa. 1980. Wild Flowers of South Africa.

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