Sandersonia History

The genus of Sandersonia consists of only one species (monotypic) Sandersonia aurantiaca. It is also commonly also known as Chinese Lanterns, Golden Bells and Golden Lily of the Valley

The name Sandersonia is given after its discoverer, John Sanderson, one of Natals (RSA) early English colonists. He first found the plant in "Field's Hill" near Durban and "Swartkops Hill" near Pietermaritzburg, South Africa in 1851. Sandersonia is still found in the wild in the Drakensberg mountains of Kwazulu Natal. Those days, Sandersonia was a common plant in South Africa. How ever now it is protected by law due to its unique botanical status and rarity! Even the leading South African Bank, NEDBANK, lists it as an endangered species along with five various animals.

Sandersonia as a cutflower has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity since export from New Zealand commenced in the early 1980's, primarily in Japan where it is used in traditional ikebana and now more contemporary arrangements.The flower is now sought after in European markets and other new destinations like Taiwan, USA and South America.

Botanical Classification
ORDER Liliales
FAMILY Colchicaceae
GENUS Sandersonia

Sandersonia Habitat

The natural habitat of Sandersonia is in the South African provinces of Natal, Transvaal and Eastern Cape along with the Kingdom of Swaziland. It grows at an altitude between 600 and 2000m on moist grasslands.

Sandersonia flourishes best in a free draining soil. A cool and wet winter is needed to break dormancy but tubers will get damaged by frost. Summers are mild with a mean temperature of around 20ºC. Sandersonia is a seed propagation crop, taking approximately 2 growing seasons to grow from seed into a commercial tuber.

Sandersonia in New Zealand

A few Sandersonia tubers were brought to New Zealand around 80 years ago by Donald Ross. Since its introduction Sandersonia has grown into one of New Zealands most promising flower crops with a leading role by New Zealand growers in the world market. At a recent horticultural show in South Africa where BLOOMZ showed both Sandersonia and Zantedeschia, locals were fascinated by this flower, many only seeing it for their first time.

BLOOMZ has exported tubers and developed new management systems fro the crop since the mid 1980's and is now a leading supplier to major clients all around the world.

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