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Sparaxis bulbifera - (L.)Ker-Gawl.

Common Name
Family Iridaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Sandy or rocky slopes at low altitudes[79]. Wet sandy or limestone flats[282].
Range S. Africa.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Sparaxis bulbifera

Sparaxis bulbifera


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Sparaxis bulbifera is a CORM growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9 and is frost tender. It is in flower from April to May. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds; South Wall. In. West Wall. In.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Root
Edible Uses:

The bulbous tubers are edible[2, 105]. No further details are given in the reports.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Requires a light well-drained soil in a hot sunny position[1, 42, 79]. Prefers a rich soil[79]. This species is not very cold-hardy in Britain, when grown outdoors it is best planted about 15cm deep on a south facing wall in November[1]. Apply a mulch over the winter to protect the corms from cold[42]. The corms must be kept dry after flowering, at a minimum temperature of 10°c. It is best to lift the corms when the leaves die down, store them in a dry place and to replant them in November[1]. In areas with cool summers the plant might not manage to develop adequate corms for subsequent growing[200]. This species is often found growing in moist or wet soils in the wild, and is more tolerant of wet conditions than other members of the genus[282]. Plants produce bulbils on the flowering stems, when plants are grown in a greenhouse these bulbils can sow themselves around freely[K].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse in a light potting mix. The seed usually germinates freely within 6 weeks but the seedlings are liable to damp off so make sure you give them plenty of ventilation. It is best to sow the seed thinly so that it is not necessary to prick out the seedlings in their first year of growth. If necessary, give them some liquid feeds during the growing season. Divide up the small bulbs when the plants have become dormant at the end of the first growing season. Grow them on for at least another year before planting them out. This species often flowers in its second year from seed. Division of offsets. This is best done when the dormant plant is lifted in summer. Larger bulbs can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller bulbs and grow them on in a cod frame for their first year, planting them out when dormant in late summer. Bulbils. These are freely produced on the flowering stem. Pot them up when they start to fall off the plant, keep them fairly dry until November, then water them lightly through the winter.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

AFRICA: South Africa (Western Cape)

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Subject : Sparaxis bulbifera  
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