Notices for Users of the Albums

1. New Albums and some changes


The latest genera Albums added to the Operation Wildflower Site are the ones on Brunia, Quaqua and Paranomus. This means that photos and stories of plants belonging to these genera already on the Site have been moved from the more general Albums called Shrubs and Succulents into their own new Albums under Genera. 


There is a genus Album in every case where enough material has been accumulated to warrant a stand-alone grouping of photos and stories. There are now more than 170 such Albums on genera of South African plants. The biggest ones (most photos) belong to the genera Crassula, Euphorbia, Pelargonium and Aloe. Keep watching, more will be added! If there is no genus Album yet on the plant you are looking for, check under Types or the Search Box.


In order to access all items on a plant of interest, the Search Box should be used, entering the botanical name of the plant. Most photos and stories on a particular plant are likely to be posted under Genera, (or if there are only few of them, in the conglomerate categories under Types). Habitat, Regions or Parks and Gardens may also contain some material on a species searched for, showing in the list generated when using the Search Box. The latest Regions Album is the one on the Langkloof. A new Parks and Gardens Album for the Caledon Wildflower Garden has also been created from existing material.


2. Want to talk about an Album Item?


There is a new way of communicating with the Editor of this Site regarding any of the Album Items.
Comments, questions, corrections, information and suggestions can be put to the Editor by using the following email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Please ensure that the Album Item concerned is clearly identified. Type its exact title as well as the Album Name in the Subject Line of your email. Please also state your name.


Similarly, communication regarding the functioning or technical aspects of the Site can be directed to the Webmaster at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




Merwilla plumbea

Botanical name

Merwilla plumbea

Other names

Wild squill; blouslangkop (Afrikaans); inguduza (Zulu); Scilla natalensis




Erect growing bulbous perennial

Description of stem

Flowering stem curves mildly, earning the Afrikaans name referring to a snake

Description of leaves

About seven straight, smooth green, broad, but tapering and pointed leaves of 40 cm in length form a rosette around the inflorescence that appears before the leaves in spring; the leaves turn yellow and die off in autumn

Description of flowers

About a meter high (but variable in height); raceme with many small light blue, violet blue or blue and white flowers appearing in spring; floral parts in sixes; stalks of the individual flowers coloured as the petals; white filaments

Description of seed/fruit

Wrinkled seeds released by from a dehiscent capsule

Description of roots

Bulb 10 to 15 cm in diameter; over half of the bulb positioned above ground level; cartilaginous tunic around the bulb


Bulb size, flower and leaf colour; blue or mauve flowers



Propagation and cultivation

Transplants easily, also offset bulbs (forming readily around well-growing mature bulbs) or seed can be planted; requires well-drained soil; takes about three years to bloom


Needs shelter from frost in cold climates


To make medicine for female infertility and male impotency; also used in the treatment of skin conditions; ash from the burnt plant has been used on open sores garden plant in clumps on rockeries, also a good container plant; soap making

Ecological rarity

Probably threatened by its popularity in the indigenous medicine trade

Pests and diseases





In rocky grassland

Distribution (SA provinces)

Mpumalanga, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal (common in the Drakensberg) and Eastern Cape


South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland


Scilla natalensis; Photograph by Judd Kirkel



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