Cameron & Rhoda McMaster's

A New species of Cyrtanthus from the Eastern Cape

Meanwhile, Dr Snijman continued her investigation of old literature and
herbarium sheets to be completely sure of the validity of the new species. 
On 4 December 2001 she sent me the following communication:

"Since I last contacted you I have discovered another specimen at the Compton Herbarium that matches your Bolo collection. It was collected on
9-2-1963 by Mrs M.A. Holmes on the 'Slopes down to Nqancule and Kei
Rivers'. Miss Barker had identified it as
Cyrtanthus galpinii and the specimen had been languishing in that folder unnoticed. Please tell me if you know the above locality. And whether Mrs Holmes was known to you. We haven't any other collections of hers so she must have had a special interest in this plant. The laid out flowers match Auriol's painting very well. They have stamens
attached at different levels as in the C. sanguineus group. This obviously led Miss Barker to think it was
C. galpinii, a small flowered species  in the
C. sanguineus group but always with only one flower and from the northern areas."

Mrs Holmes was not known to me, but reference to my large scale trig-survey maps established that this site was on the east bank of the Kei River not more than 20km away from where I had originally discovered the species. This was confirmation of a third population on the slopes of the Kei valley. It is highly likely that more populations will be found. The limited flowering time and the extreme difficulty of exploring this  very rough terrain makes this a tough challenge. 

On the other hand, their isolation and the fact that the two populations on the west bank of the Kei are on farms which enjoy a high degree of conservation and protection, means that although it may be very localised and rare, there are no immediate threats to the future survival of this exciting new


Acocks, JPH, 1952.
Veld Types of South Africa, Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa 40: 1-128.

Lewis, Colin, 1996, The Geomorphology of the Eastern Cape, published by Grocott and Sherry, Grahamstown.

Snijman, D.A. 2003. A new Cyrtanthus species (Amaryllidaceae: Cyrtantheae) endemic to the Albany centre, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Bothalia 33.


I am deeply grateful the owners of the farms on which these plants occur, for their co-operation and assistance during my many visits to the localities.
In particular I would like to thank Fanie and Alta van Wyk, Bob Acton for
permission to explore their farms and Neil Potter through whose property I
often had to hike to get to the second site. Neil also on occasion  made the task easier by taking me some distance in his 4-wheel drive bakkie.

I am also very grateful to Dr. Auriol Batten for her interest in this project, for the beautiful plate and for the continued support and inspiration she gives to me.

Dr Dee Snijman has been extremely patient and thorough over the nine years that we have been involved in this project. Her commitment to accuracy and excellence, her friendship and encouragement and the honour she has
bestowed on me by naming the new species for me, are very deeply

Also see on Cyrtanthus macmasteri

You can view these plants in their wild habitats
by joining a botanical tour offered by African Bulbs