Yet another autumn lily stolen by summer; this time, the Chandelier lily, earlier than I have ever seen it before! Like the Belladonna and Paintbrush lilies, it too emerges directly from the bulb beneath the soil, usually after the first rain of March, the beginning of the South African autumn. At this rate, there will be no lilies left come the month!
After an extended period of drought, the Western Cape province of South Africa has experienced a rainy summer. So unusual is this that wild autumn lilies have sprung from the ground a month early!1 Expected only after the first rain of March, this is the Belladonna lily (Amaryllis belladonna) blooming in early February—high summer in South Africa!
The South African autumn begins in March and ends in May.
A delightful fact I neglect to mention is that my beloved Gladiolus liliaceus, commonly known as the Large Brown Afrikaner and Aandpypie1 (“little evening pipe”2), has yet another common Afrikaans name: the Ribbokblom3, that is, the “rhebok flower”!
Whence the name, I can only speculate—perhaps because the rhebok itself is as rare, or that both are found on hillsides and are brownish-grey? Nonetheless, what are the odds that two of my favourite things—an antelope and a lily—should be thus connected!
After the flower that opens at night.
[Ribbok-blom] with a trilled “R” and a short [awh] version of the “o” in “or”.