Babiana disticha Ker Gawl.
Babiana lilacina Eckl.
Babiana plicata Ker Gawl.
Babiana punctata Klatt
Babiana reflexa (Licht. ex Roem. & Schult.) Ker Gawl.
Gladiolus distichus (Ker Gawl.) Roem. & Schult.
Gladiolus fragrans Jacq.
Gladiolus plicatus Jacq.
Gladiolus plicatus Thunb.
Gladiolus reflexus Licht. ex Roem. & Schult.
Common Name: Baboon Root
Babiana fragrans is a herbaceous, perennial plant with an erect, often branched stem growing from a corm; it can grow 70 - 200cm tall[
The corm is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. The plant is grown as an ornamental, valued for its flowers and their pleasant aroma.
S. Africa - southwest Cape Province.
Sandy soils on flat land and mountain sides[
]. Sandstone, granite and occasionally clay slopes[
Babiana fragrans is a plant of the Mediterranean climate of southwest S. Africa, with its hot, dry summers and cooler wet winters. In its native habitat, the plant comes into growth in the winter and flowers in the spring, then dies down during the dry season. Outside of Mediterranean climates, the plant can only be grown outdoors in mild winter areas, otherwise are best grown with some protection. They can tolerate temperatures down to about -5°c[
An easily grown plant, it requires a warm, sunny, sheltered position in a well-drained light sandy soil[
Plant the corms 20 - 25cm deep[
]. In mild winter areas the corms can be lifted after the plant dies down in the autumn and stored overwinter in a dry frost-free place, replanting them in the spring[
]. If the plants are to be left in the ground over the winter then it is best to give them a protective mulch of bracken or some similar material[
The growing plant resents root disturbance[
The flowers are strongly fragrant[
Corm - boiled[
]. It is 2 - 3cm in diameter[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cool greenhouse, it will germinate in the spring[
]. The seed can also be sown in a warm greenhouse at most times of the year[
]. It usually germinates within 4 - 8 weeks at 20°c[
]. Give young seedlings as much light as possible[
]. Sow the seed thinly so that it does not need to be thinned and grow the young plants on for their first year without disturbance. Give an occasional liquid feed to ensure that they do not become nutrient deficient. Pot the small bulbs up when they are dormant, placing 2 - 3 bulbs in each pot, and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least the next year. Plant them out into their permanent positions when the plants are dormant in the autumn.
Division of offsets when the plant is dormant in the autumn. They are freely produced[
]. The offsets can be planted direct into their permanent positions if required.