Commonly known as Blue Tulp, the Moraea elliotii with its blue-violet iris-like flowers grows in moist and stony grassland throughout the eastern parts of South Africa, from parts of the Western Cape through to Mpumalanga. They differ from the irises they resemble by having corms, whereas irises usually have rhizomatous roots. Here is one of many poking its beautiful flower above the surrounding grasses. You can just make out its channelled leaves.

The flowers can easily be initially mistaken for irises as they have three larger outer petals and three smaller upright inner petals.

The prominent yellow patches on the outer petals have the special function of attracting pollinators.

Flowers do not last long. I first saw these blooming in the grass verge on the edge of town late one afternoon and when I returned the following day to photograph them, several had already wilted – although new buds were ready to unfurl.

Seen from the side, the flowers look like this:

The central petals of the newly opened flowers are folded over at first; other – perhaps older – flowers had one or two of these petals in a more upright position.

17 thoughts on “MORAEA ELLIOTII

    • It might be if you were intending to plant them. The public is discouraged from removing flowers from the wild – all too often they do not transplant well in any case.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Another of our stunning wildflowers that wouldn’t be out-of-place in the fanciest of gardens. Thank you for the cheerful splash of colour just before bedtime, Anne!


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