Blandfordia nobilis

Christmas bells
Christmas Bell flowers at Berowra Valley Regional Park, Australia
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Clade:Angiosperms
Clade:Monocots
Order:Asparagales
Family:Blandfordiaceae
Genus:Blandfordia
Species: B. nobilis
Binomial name
Blandfordia nobilis
Sm.

Blandfordia nobilis, commonly known as Christmas bells, is a tufted perennial herb native to eastern Australia. Known as Gadigalbudyari in the Cadigal language of the local Indigenous Australians. Known as Reminé to the Aborigines of the Brune Island and South Tasmania region.[1]

Taxonomy

The type specimen was collected from Port Jackson circa the year 1800. Blandfordia nobilis was first published in 1804 by English botanist James Edward Smith, and it still bears its original name.[2]

Description

Blandfordia nobilis grows as a tufted perennial herb. The strappy green leaves are up to 75 cm (30 in) long and 0.3 to 0.5 cm wide. The leafless flower stalks growing directly from the ground are up to 80 cm (32 in) long. Flowering occurs in late spring and summer. The flowers are yellow and red, around 4 cm long. In groups of 3 to 20 flowers. A three sided green seed pod forms later in summer, usually around 6 cm long.[3]

Distribution and habitat

Blandfordia nobilis grows on poor sandstone soils and swampy areas, between the towns of Sydney, Milton and Braidwood.[3] In wet heathland it is associated with sundews (Drosera) and Schoenus brevifolius.[4]

Cultivation

Blandfordia nobilis was grown in glasshouses in the England in 1803, but are rarely seen in gardens today.[5]

Music

Blandiflora nobilis is the subject of a Christmas Song "My Little Christmas Belle" published in 1909 by Sydney's popular song composer Joe Slater (1872-1926) with lyrics by Scottish entertainer Ward McAlister (1872-1928). The copy in the National Library of Australia bears a cartoon depiction of the blossom.[6]

References

  1. NSW State Library, "Miscellaneous papers relating to Aborigines, ca. 1839 - 1871." p28
  2. "Blandfordia nobilis Sm". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government.
  3. 1 2 "Blandfordia nobilis - PlantNET". Retrieved 2010-04-11.
  4. Benson, Doug; McDougall, Lyn (2002). "Ecology of Sydney Plant Species Part 9: Monocotyledon families Agavaceae to Juncaginaceae" (PDF). Cunninghamia. 7 (4): 695–930. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-06-23.
  5. ANBG staff (16 December 2003). "Growing Native Plants: Blandfordia nobilis". Australian National Botanic Gardens/Australian National Herbarium website. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: Australian National Botanic Gardens, Australian Government. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  6. National Library of Australia vn3426213
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