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Re:Ferraria crispa

I have Ferraria crispa in bloom now.  Must be one of the oddest flowers in
existance!  The plant resembles a small gladiolus or a freesia.  The
inch-wide flowers are flat to reflexed, sort of a mustard-yellow with dark
brown spotting and with the extraordinarily "crisped" petal edges the name
advertises.  Each flower only lasts a day, but many are produced in
succession.  I have two pots, each with two spikes, so expect a lot of
flowers over a period of about a month.

After blooming, I let the plants grow until the foliage starts to yellow,
then dry them out and store them in a warm place until next August, when I
take the corms out and repot them in fresh soil.  This South Africa irid is
very easy to grow and multiplies rapidly.

Just one drawback--like many desert or semi-desert plants, this species i s
evidently pollinated by carrion flies (the odd color scheme may be a visual
mimicry of rotting meat).  It has a very disagreeable odor and so is not
the ideal house plant!

Best wishes, Bill
William A. Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943 USA
phone (804) 223-6172
FAX (804) 223-6374

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