Melasphaerula graminea (L.f.) Ker Gawl., Bot. Mag. 17: t. 615 (1803)
As yet a solitary species, nor have we in the many specimens we have seen ever observed it to vary even in colour. Flowers scentless, 2 – 6 on each peduncle-like branchlet, which last, in the archedly-flexuose curvatures and one-ranked manner of bearing their flowers, resemble the rachis of Ixia secunda.
Found by Thunberg at the Cape of Good Hope, on the Groenekloof hills, and near Bergrivier; introduced into Kew Gardens, by Mr. Masson in 1787. The generic name we have derived from (Greek) black and (Greek) a globe, in allusion to the colour and form of the bulblets produced on the stem, as mentioned and figured by Jacquin. In the capillary tenuity and elastic tremulousness of its branchlets it reminds us of the quaking-grass, Briza.
Our drawing was taken at the Nursery of Messrs. Wykes and Grimwood, Kensington. Requires the treatment of the other Cape Enfantae. Propagates plentifully by feed and bulbs; but the leaves are apt if kept in a pit to be easily bitten and destroyed by the frost, and though this does not kill the plant it weakens it very much; to make it produce the bulblets mentioned by Jacquin, and to have it in perfection, we should think the dry stove would be the best place to grow it in. G.
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