Brunsvigia orientalis is a much named perennial, bulbous plant of the coastal areas of the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape. It is found from Namaqualand to Plettenberg Bay. The name used to be B. gigantea for a time, but what is more remarkable are the 16 common names listed by the well-known plants website www.plantzafrica.com for this flower in Afrikaans and Englis. Definitely a flower taken note of by many people.
Seeroogblom (Afrikaans) or sore-eye flower, for instance, came from either looking at the flower for too long or from getting pollen in the eye; take your pick. And remember that in South African English a sight for sore eyes may be something ugly or beautiful, causing or healing the sore eyes. Ja-nee!
The official botanical name, B. orientalis, also has a story to it: The first voyage of Captain James Cook in the Endeavour, during 1768 to 1771 included stops in Australia, ports in the orient and then the Cape of Good Hope on its way back to England. A variety of plant specimens had been collected en route as was common for explorers to do in those days. These were sorted and labelled, but some mix-ups had accidentally occurred. So this pretty South African bulb ended up with the name orientalis, suggesting that it came from the East, as a result of one of those mix-ups (www.bihrmann.com).
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