March Lilies in February

March Lilies in February, 7 February 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.

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!

March Lilies in February, 7 February 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
March Lilies in February, 7 February 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.

  1. The South African autumn begins in March and ends in May.

An Antelope and a Lily

Aandpypie (Gladiolus liliaceus), 19 October 2018. Copyright 2018 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Gladiolus lileaceus (Taken 19 October 2018)

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!

  1. [aahnd-paypee]
  2. After the flower that opens at night.
  3. [Ribbok-blom] with a trilled “R” and a short [awh] version of the “o” in “or”.