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Nerine humilis is a pink-flowered bulb from South Africa, which is easy to grow and flowers freely. The petals are particularly frilly. It is a very variable species in both size and growth habit. The specific epithet humilis (from the Latin for short/ low/ humble) relates to its low-growing habit.

Nerine humilis (nerine)

[KSP]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description
Nerine humilis is a low-growing, pink-flowered bulb, found on rocky slopes in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape Provinces of South Africa, often flowering in huge numbers after veld fires.

Nerine humilis is a pink-flowered bulb from South Africa, which is easy to grow and flowers freely. The petals are particularly frilly. It is a very variable species in both size and growth habit. The specific epithet humilis (from the Latin for short/ low/ humble) relates to its low-growing habit.

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Native to South Africa, where it occurs along the south and west coasts of Western Cape from near Clanwilliam, to the Eastern Cape in the Baviaanskloof.

Being from the winter rainfall region of South Africa, Nerine humilis is adapted to warm, dry summers (November to March in the Southern Hemisphere) when the plants remain dormant in the wild. The active growing season in the wild is from April to November.

Description

Overview:  Nerine humilis is a bulb up to 6 cm across, with flat, strap-shaped leaves.

Leaves:  Each bulb bears 3-8 leaves up to 30 cm long and 1.7 cm wide. The leaves are green or glaucous and are usually well-developed at the time of flowering.

Flowers:  Each bulb can produce 1-3 flowering stems, 10-40 cm tall. Each flowering stem bears 1-12 flowers in a flat umbel, each with the six perianth segments (sepals/petals) spreading upwards, wavy-edged, deep to pale pink, 3-5 cm long and 3-7 mm wide. The six stamens curve downwards. The single style is three-lobed at the apex when mature.

Seeds:  The fleshy seeds are 4 mm across.

Threats and conservation

Nerine humilis has a relatively wide distribution in South Africa and is not threatened. It is considered to be of Least Concern (LC) according to IUCN Red List criteria.

Uses

Nerine humilis is widely cultivated as an ornamental. It is valued as an autumn-flowering bulb in the Northern Hemisphere (though it flowers from April to June in South Africa, where it is native).

Cultivation

Nerine humilis bulbs should be grown in sandy soil, with some acid humus. It performs best when planted in a large pot and left undisturbed until the bulbs become overcrowded. It should be planted with the neck of the bulb protruding above the soil. It should be protected from frost in the winter, and kept on the dry side, particularly in summer when the bulbs are dormant.

This species at Kew

Nerine humilis can be seen in the Davies Alpine House at Kew during the autumn.

Pressed and dried specimens of other species of Nerine are held in Kew's Herbarium, where they are available to researchers from around the world, by appointment. The details of some of these, including images, can be seen online in the Herbarium Catalogue.

Distribution
South Africa
Ecology
Rocky slopes; usually on sandstone.
Conservation
Least Concern (LC) according to IUCN Red List criteria.
Hazards

None known, although the related Nerine sarniensis (Guernsey lily) is poisonous.

[KSP]
Use
Ornamental.

Native to:

Cape Provinces

English
Nerine

Nerine humilis (Jacq.) Herb. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Ross-Frames, P. [20369], South Africa Nerine tulbaghensis K000366217
Breach [876/33], South Africa Nerine breachiae K000366219 Unknown type material
Peers, V.S. [20370], South Africa Nerine peersii K000366218 Unknown type material

First published in Bot. Mag. 47: t. 2124 (1820)

Accepted by

  • Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds.) (2003). Plants of Southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14.: i-vi, 1-1231. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

Literature

Kew Species Profiles

  • Duncan, G. (2009). Nerine humilis. Curtis’s Bot. Mag. 26: 200-209.
  • Manning, J., Goldblatt, P. & Snijman, D. (2002). The Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.
  • Victor, J.E. (2002). South Africa. In: Southern African Plant Red Data Lists, ed. J. Golding, pp. 93-120. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 14. SABONET, Pretoria.
  • World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (2010). The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds.) (2003). Plants of Southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14.: i-vi, 1-1231. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Science Photographs
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Species Profiles
Kew Species Profiles
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0