This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Latin, curculio, weevil; referring to the beak of the ovary). Amaryllidaceae. Warmhouse and conservatory foliage plants with the habit of a young palm and an odd flower-cluster.
Stemless herbs, with short rhizomes, radical long narrow usually plicate leaves, and small flowers in spikes or clusters on short scapes that may be nearly concealed at the base of the plant: perianth 6-parted, the segments spreading and about equal; stamens 6, attached at the base of the segments; ovary 3-celled. - The genus is closely related to Hypoxis, but differs in its succulent indehis-cent fruit, and because in many species the ovary has a long beak which looks like a perianth-tube, but this beak is always solid, and bears on its summit the style which is in the center of the perianth. - Twelve species in eastern and western tropics of which C. recurvata is grown S. and N., being used by florists for vases, jardinieres, and general decorative work, and also used outdoors in summer. It is of easy cultivation, but requires perfect drainage. It is a question to be determined whether the plants mostly in cult, are C. recurvata or
C. latifolia; the recurved dense ovoid head of flowers quickly distinguishes the former species.
The curculigos are very ornamental plants for large greenhouses, where a high temperature is maintained. To have them looking their best they should, if possible, be planted out in a bed, where they will attain a height of 5 feet. Their gracefully arching leaves are so constructed that they move continually from side to side with the slightest movement of the air. The variety variegata is one of the best variegated-leaved plants. While not so robust as the green form, it is more adapted to pot culture. The soil should be two parts loam and another of rotted cow-manure and sand. Drainage must be carefully arranged, as the plants need an abundance of water. The green-leaved kind stands the summers well in the neighborhood of Washington,
D. C., if protected from the sun and afforded an abundant supply of water. As house-plants they are likely to suffer for lack of moisture.
Propagation is by division. The pieces, before potting, will make new roots rapidly if placed in the sand-bed of a warm propagating-house for a few days.
Dry. Height 2 1/2 ft. or more: root tuberous: leaves from the root, 1-3 ft. long, 2-6 in. wide, with a channeled stalk one-third or one-fourth the length, the blade lanceolate, recurved, plaited: scapes very rarely as long as the If . - stalks, covered with long, soft brown hairs, recurved at the end, bearing a head of drooping yellow flowers, each 3/4in. across; the scape is frequently only 1-3 in. long, the flowers appearing almost on the ground; bracts 1 to each flower and about as long. tropical Asia, Austral. B.R. 770. (with scape abnormally long). variety striata, Hort., has a central band of white. variety variegata, Hort., has longitudinal bars of white.
Dry. Fig. 1148. Height 2-3 ft.: differs from C. recurvata in having a very short-stalked erect infloresence, the bright yellow flowers in a dense cluster near the base of the plant: leaves lanceolate, 1-2 ft. long and 1-5 in. wide, the petiole 12 in. or less: fruit 1 in. long, club-shaped or pyriform, hairy, with black seeds: the plant produces numerous suckers which, when removed, are easily grown, and bloom in about a year; said to be a beautiful and hardy house-plant, more satisfactory than palms for one without a conservatory. India, Malaysia. B.M. 2034. B.R. 754. L.B.C. 5:443 (as C. sumatrana). - Variable in foilage.
Fig. 1148. Curculigo latifolia.
G. W. Oliver. Wilhelm Miller.