Pineapple Flower; Eucomis autumnali
Eucomis autumnalis is divided into three subspecies, most clearly distinguishable by the structure of the peduncle (stalk of the inflorescence) which is either club-shaped or cylindrical: Eucomis autumnalis subsp. autumnalis, (cylindrical) syn. Fritillaria autumnalis, Eucomis undulata, which occurs on mountain slopes, in open grassland and forest margins in the Eastern Cape, Northern Province, Zimbabwe and Malawi; Eucomis autumnalis subsp. clavata, (club-shaped or clavate) syn. Eucomis robusta, E. clavata, which grows in open grassland and marshes in KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho, eastern Free State, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Northern Province North West Province and Botswana; and Eucomis autumnalis subsp. amaryllidifolia, (linear leaves, club-shaped peduncle) syn. Eucomis amaryllidifolia, which grows between rocks on mountain slopes of the western Free State and Eastern Cape.
Although the bulb is toxic, Eucomis autumnalis is used medicinally in South Africa. Decoctions of the bulb in water or milk are usually administered as enemas for the treatment of low backache, to assist in post-operative recovery, and to aid in healing fractures. Decoctions are also used for a variety of ailments, including urinary diseases, stomach ache, fevers, colic, flatulence, hangovers and syphilis, and to facilitate childbirth. The subspecies clavata is also used for coughs and respiratory ailments, biliousness, lumbago, blood disorders, venereal diseases and to prevent premature childbirth. Several homoisoflavones are found in Eucomis autumnalis, and flavonoids are known for their anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic action. It also contains some steroidal triterpenoids and they are known to be beneficial in wound therapy.