Boophone is a genus of 2 species from Africa in the Amaryllidaceae family. The plant consists of a conspicuous fan of wavy-edged grey-green leaves and a large scaly bulb above ground. Some of the largest bulbs found in the wild are well over a hundred years old, so the ones in a collection could become family heirlooms. Several common names exist such as Oxbane, Century Bulb, Sore-Eye Flower (pollen is irritating), Gifbol (=Poison Bulb), Tumbleweed, Perdespook (Horse Ghost – the infrutescence rolls across the veld which frightens horses), and a host of names in some of the other indigenous languages, many of which refer to the medicinal and other uses of the bulb.
Boophone disticha is found both in the summer rainfall regions, from around Port Elizabeth on the south coast, northwards to East Africa and in areas that also have winter rainfall. In the former winters are dry, but the occasional light shower may occur in winter. The mature bulbs can get to about 17 cm (6-7 in.) in diameter, producing flowers in spring, and leaves about 45 cm (18 in) long and 5 cm (2 in) wide, in spring and summer. Plants from these regions are dormant in winter whereas plants from the other regions grow differently. Blooms in the wild are from September to March. All species and forms need a very well drained mix. Some bone meal would be beneficial seeing that these species need to remain in (deep) containers for a long time. The plants are always eye-catching, even as a dry bulb sitting on the ground.
Boophone disticha is a very large, very poisonous bulb