Eucomis comosa (E. punctata)

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Botanical Name
Eucomis comosa (E. punctata)
Hyacinthaceae - The hyacinth family.
YOO-com-iss kom-OH-suh
Common Name(s)
English: Pineapple Flower; Pineapple Lily
Afrikaans: Wildepynappel
IsiXhosa: umphompho
IsiZulu: Umathunga
Plant Group
  • Bulb / Corm / Rhizome / Tuber / Epigeal bulb Bulbs: are made up of fleshy scales as in an onion Corm: a short, swollen, underground stem that is hard and not fleshy as in a gladiolus Tuber: a solid, fleshy, underground, storage organ as in a potato Rhizome: an underground, horizontal, swollen stem at the base of the plant as in an iris Epigeal bulb: bulbs that rest above the ground with only the roots anchoring the plant to the earth as in albuca
Plant Size
  • Medium to Large
    Tree15m to 20m
    Shrub2m to 3m
    Perennial/ground cover60cm to 75cm
    Bulb60cm to 1m
    Succulent60cm to 1m
  • Medium
    Tree10m to 16m
    Shrub1m to 2m
    Perennial/ground cover40cm to 60cm
    Bulb40cm to 60cm
    Succulent40cm to 60cm
  • Light or Dappled Shade Found below trees with sparse, open foliage. Ideal for the protection of herbaceous plants.
  • Partial Shade The area is in shade for part of the day and in full sun for part of the day.
  • Sun The area is in full sun for all or most of the day, all year round.
General Information
  • Attractive fruits, berries or seeds Brightly coloured fruits or berries increase and extend the visual impact of the plant and are especially attractive to birds and other small wildlife.
  • Deciduous Plants which completely lose their foliage for part of the year.
  • Drought Tolerance: High The plant is well adapted to arid conditions; it can survive long periods of drought and high temperatures without extra water.
  • Frost: Hardy The plant can withstand freezing temperatures or frost without artificial protection.
  • Water Moderate These plants will need some extra watering compared to water-wise plants. Plant them together, in at least some shade and in a convenient proximity to the house so that grey water can be utilised during times of drought.
  • Water Wise Plant species originating from low rainfall regions that require less water to survive and thrive than other plant species.
Specific Information

NB: The specimens in my garden and photographed above are not genetically true to Eucomis comosa, but have crossbred, quite likely with Eucomis pallidiflora subsp. pole-evansi. The distinctive, unusual flowers of Eucomis comosa are an impressive addition to the garden. This is a deciduous bulb growing from spring to autumn, after which the leaves die off for winter while the bulb has a rest period. The large bulbs are 10 to 15 cm in diameter and curiously shaped, having a flat base with the roots arranged in a frill along the outer edge. The plant forms a rosette of large, broad leaves with wavy, purple margins. The bases of the leaves and flower stalks are spotted with maroon. As the seeds ripen, the ovaries swell and darken, adding further interest to the flowers. I have grown this plant in Johannesburg as well as Bathurst with equal success. However, do consider the wind factor. The tall, top heavy stalks are easily blown over by wind, so provide a protected environment or the flowers will fall over, quite ruining their stately effectiveness. In its natural habitat, Eucomis comosa is rated on the Red Data List as 'Declining', primarily due to its collection for medicinal markets.

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over a hundred star-shaped flowers, crowded around the upper half of a stout stalk, culminating in a tuft of leaves

  • Summer to Autumn Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
  • greenish purple
Growth Rate
  • Moderate Specifying growth rate can be very misleading as there is considerable variation of growth rate depending on type and species of plant, available water, supplementary feeding, mulching and general care, as well as the plants suitability and adaptability to the garden environment.
  • Moderate to Fast Specifying growth rate can be very misleading as there is considerable variation of growth rate depending on type and species of plant, available water, supplementary feeding, mulching and general care, as well as the plants suitability and adaptability to the garden environment.
Plant Uses
  • Accent or Focal Point A plant used to attract the attention because of its colour or form.
  • Attracts bees, butterflies or other insects This plant attracts insects which can be food for birds or other creatures in your garden.
  • Attracts Birds This plant will attract birds.
  • Border A strip of ground, at the edge of a driveway or path in which ornamental plants or shrubs are planted.
  • Container Trees, shrubs and ornamental species that can adapt to growing in a restricted environment.
  • Cut Flowers Plants that provide flowers suitable for ornamental uses.
  • Pot Plant A plant that needs a protected environment on a patio or indoors.
  • Suitable for coastal gardens Plants adapted to dry, sandy soil, forceful wind, limited rainfall and intense sunlight.
  • Water Features These plants may have dramatic, lush foliage or graceful form. They do not shed excessive leaves and do not have invasive root systems.
  • Wild Garden An indigenous garden planted for the benefit of wildlife and birds. Provides food, water, a variety of mini-biomes and no poisonous chemicals are used.
Distribution and Habitat

from the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal, along the coastal belt and inland, on damp, grassy places on hillsides, and along river and stream banks, with a summer rainfall climate .

Planting Suggestions

Dormant bulbs should be planted in early spring with their tops at or just below ground level, in full sun or partial shade, and protected from the full force of the wind - I have found that full sun promotes better flowers. (In very cold climates it is suggested that bulbs be planted somewhat deeper, kept as dry as possible, and covered by a thick layer of mulch in winter.) Soil must be well drained and performance will be enhanced if a top dressing of compost is given in spring. If necessary, supplement rainfall with extra water during the growing period of spring and summer. This said, I have found my plants to thrive with no other compost than their own dead leaves and the bed in which they are stored receives water only when the situation becomes critical, perhaps 2 or 3 times a year. The photos show the results of this treatment. It takes a couple of years before young bulbs begin to produce offsets, but my mature bulbs (some of them twenty-odd years old), generously produce a ring of offsets every year. These are best removed in late autumn or winter. Keep the offsets in a cool, dry place and plant out in spring. Once established, Eucomis comosa needs little attention and can be considered fully water wise.

Medicinal Uses

A decoction is made by boiling the bulb with other unmentioned plants. The resulting preparation, which often raises a rash, is used for rheumatism and as an enema for teething children.

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Hie Lorraine
I need help with identifying this plant. some say its a lachnalia and others say its eucomis.

please help


Sincere apologies for taking so long to reply to your query.

This is neither Eucomis or Lachanalia. It is a species of the Genus Ledebouria, (possibly Ledebouria marginata).

Visit the following sites,so that you can compare the flowers of the three plant groups.

Kind regards

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