In 1876, Baker described several species of the genus Hypoxis “Allmost all of these species are yellow, except the reddish Hypoxis baurii”. After 38 year, botanist G.Nel described Rhodohypoxis as a new genus. His main argument was the difference in flower morphology (flower petals standing in two lines), and also the shape and colours of the petals of Rhodohypoxis differ with those of Hypoxis. In the 1920’s Mrs. S.K. Garnett-Botfield got some Rhodohypoxis bulbs (rootstocks) from South Africa. These plants did have red and white flowers. She propagated, crossed and selected Rhodohypoxis for years and named some new cultivars. Members of her family did continue her work.
Commercial selling of Rhodohypoxis started in the 1930’s. There are still some of the older cultivars from those days in cultivation. Over the years newly collected Rhodohypoxis have been sent from South Africa to England. Breeding of Rhodohypoxis has and will be continued by several nurseries and plantsmen.
– Herbertia 55-200 (74-86) – Yassica Singh – Rhodohypoxis, beauty in abundance.
– Botanische Jahrbücher für Systematik, Pflanzengeschichte und Pflanzengeographie,
Leipzig, 1914 (250-287)- Gert C. Nel: Studien über die Amaryllidaceae-Hypoxidaceae, unter besonderer Berücksichtigung de Afrikanischer Arten.
Hypoxis plants are easily recognized by their bright yellow star-shaped flowers and elongated leaves. Plants overcome winter conditions in the form of a rootstock (corm). This is predominantly a grassland genus, preferring full sunlight. Most of the Hypoxis species grow in the southern part of Africa, but in Asia, Australia and America also some species can be found. Almost all Hypoxis flowers (petals) are yellow, and also pollen grains are yellow. Bees and honeybees do pollinate these flowers. Rootstocks of the larger Hypoxis are uprooted in the hills around villages by African healers. Corms can grow to over 5 cm in diameter.
At this moment only a few nurseries have some species in cultivation: Hypoxis parvula, Hypoxis hirsuta, Hypoxis hygrometrica, Hypoxis setosa, Hypoxis hemerocallidae, Hypoxis angustifolia and a few others. There are no cultivars.
– Y. Singh – (thesis 2009) – Hypoxis (Hypoxidaceae) in southern Africa.
Department of Science, Botany, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa.
– Kocyan A. et al., (2011), Molecular phylogenetics of Hypoxidaceae –
evidence from plastid DNA data and inferences on morphology and biogeography. Molec. Phylogen. Evol. 60: 122 – 136.
Rhodoxis (rapid stars) are hybrids from intergeneric crossings of Hypoxis and Rhodohypoxis. A few natural crossings were sent to England: Rhodoxis hybrida, Rhodoxis Hebron Farm Red Eye and Rhodoxis Hebron Farm Pink.
So far most new plants do have fertile flowers and will grow seeds under the right conditions. So, breeding new varieties by inbreeding, crossing and backcrossing should be possible. Seedlings grown do have more variation in plantsize, flowercolour and shape of the petals. The yellow colour of the Hypoxis is lost in the first crossing and has not been seen in any seedlings of backcrossing.
In England several nurseries have also been breeding new Rhodoxis cultivars.
In 1996 we saw the first flower of a new Rhodoxis at our nursery. Since then we have been breeding Hypoxidae by crossing Rhodohypoxis, Hypoxis and Rhodoxis. We prefer natural crossings by various insects, especially hoverflies and bees, flying around at our nursery. Seeds are collected and sown immediately after collecting. Germination takes 3-6 weeks. Within a year the first flowers of hybrids do bloom. As soon as Rhodoxis flowers open up we take some photos. These new Rhodoxis flowers are shown on our website every year. The best plants are numbered after selection, and bulbs are multiplied. After 4-7 years we ask growers to compare new Rhodoxis with the older ones. It takes a minimum of 8-10 years after collecting the seeds before a new Rhodoxis cultivar is introduced.
Hypoxidaceae are used as accent or companion plants by bonsai growers.