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Crinum spp.

Crinum L.
Family: Amaryllidaceae

Crinum is a fascinating genus of the large and equally captivating Amaryllidaceae family. Larger in stature than most other species of Amaryllidaceae, most crinums are suitable as landscape plants in or near water features while most of the smaller species can be successfully cultivated even in a small garden. With due care against their one major pest, crinums are easily cultivated and provide a regular dramatic focus point with their large, bright inflorescences.

The name Crinum originates from the Greek Krinon, which means white lily. As most species have white or whitish flowers the name seems especially appropriate.
Crinum are herbaceous plants with large, tunicated bulbs which produce a neck or a pseudostem made up of the sheathing bases of the old leaves. The leaves are linear to sword-shaped, sheathing at the base, arranged in a rosette or rarely in two opposite rows, often dying back in winter, usually with the previous season’s leaves growing out again in spring with a few new leaves in the middle.
The inflorescences arise laterally on a long, solid peduncle (main or inflorescence stalk) and are umbellate (flower stalks radiate from one central point), with two spathe valves (bracts) and one to many flowers. The flowers have short or long stalks with a long perianth tube and linear to broadly lanceolate segments that are spreading or held together in a trumpet shape. The stamens are either curved, ascending or angled downwards. The ovary appears as a swelling between the flower stalk and the tube.
The fruit are subglobose, sometimes beaked, with the persistent remains of the tube bulging with large seeds and eventually bursting irregularly to release the seeds. The seeds are subglobose, with a more or less impervious, smooth or distinctly hairy seed coat. 

Growing Crinum
Stock of most true species rarely multiplies vegetatively by forming offsets. If it does, it is probably a hybrid. It is best cultivated from seed. Seeds are placed in a well-drained, sandy medium with plenty of compost and a slow-release fertilizer such as bonemeal, with regular watering and full sun. The high water content of the seed enables it to germinate after a week or two, even in dry conditions. Seed germination is hypogeal: the embryo stem is formed soon after release and in turn produces the cotyledon and radicle below the soil surface. Check to see that the young bulb is not pushed out of the soil. If seedlings are kept growing throughout the winter months, they will reach flowering size sooner. First flowering can be expected after three (C. macowanii) to eight years (C. graminicola). The plants perform best in a permanent position and, like any Amaryllidaceae, do not react well to any disturbance of the root

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