The habitat of Brunsvigia pulchra in Namaqualand and the Richtersveld is characterised by gravelly slopes of granite derived soil. The rain stimulates the appearance of leaves and not flowers in this species though. This preparatory growth of leaves will equip the large perennial bulb with the resources to produce a robust inflorescence in the coming autumn.
In years of good rain the number of leaves will be more, up to seven and they may be larger; in drier seasons the leaves will be fewer and consequently, so will the number of flowers in the umbel. In years when the winter rain is inadequate to trigger sufficient growth, the bulb does not offer an inflorescence at all. A few-flowered inflorescence may carry infertile flowers; a flourishing, big one tending to self-fertility.
This plant was photographed near Springbok. The inflorescence is presented on a stout, smooth, brown scape that curves slightly here. Two broad membranous bracts that initially covered the bunch of buds before opening can be seen sagging laterally besides the bunched flowers in the photo (www.pacificbulbsociety.org).
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