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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Ordo: Asparagales

Familia: Asparagaceae
Subfamilia: Scilloideae
Tribus: Urgineeae
Genus: Bowiea
Species: B. volubilis
Name

Bowiea Harv. ex Hook.f., Bot. Mag. 93: t. 5619 (1867) nom. cons.
monotypic taxon

Synonyms

Heterotypic
Ophiobostryx Skeels, Bull. Bur. Pl. Industr. U.S.D.A. 223: 45 (1911)
Schizobasopsis J.F.Macbr., Contr. Gray Herb. 56: 3 (1918)

References

Harvey, W.H. (1867) Botanical Magazine 93: t. 5619.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2014. Bowiea in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2014 Mar. 7. Reference page.
Tropicos.org 2014. Bowiea. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 7 Mar. 2014.
International Plant Names Index. 2014. Bowiea. Published online. Accessed: Mar. 7 2014.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Bowiea in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: April 8, 12.

Bowiea is a genus of bulbous, perennial, succulent plants which thrive in dry and desert regions of eastern and southern Africa. It is native to a region stretching from Kenya to Cape Province.[1] The genus contains a single species, Bowiea volubilis.

The genus is named after the nineteenth-century British plant collector at Kew, James Bowie.[2][3]

Description

The plants have many overlapping scales, which form a tight, pale green, spherical bulb that grows to 8 in (20 cm) above the soil, sending up a twining fresh-green branched stem with few linear deciduous leaves. Dormant in winter, when the outer scales and many of the scale tips dry to a paper-like state, the plants burst to growth in late spring or summer, producing one or more very fast-growing stems that needs to be supported by a trellis or stake. The stems are covered with many leafless side-branches that may fall off. The small greenish-white flowers appear in spring.
Species

One species is recognized, with two subspecies[1]

Bowiea volubilis (climbing-onion, sea onion[4])
Bowiea volubilis subsp. gariepensis (van Jaarsv.) Bruyns – Namibia, Cape Province
Bowiea volubilis subsp. volubilis – from Cape Province to Kenya

Cultivation


The plants prefer gritty well-drained soil in partial sun to shade. Water regularly during the growing season, and rarely if at all during dormancy. Propagate from seed, divisions, or from individual scales which once removed, will eventually form numerous bulbils.
References

Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
Govaerts, R. (1996). World Checklist of Seed Plants 2(1, 2): 1-492. Continental Publishing, Deurne.
Stedje, B. (1996). Hyacinthaceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa: 1-32.
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