Cyanella alba is one of seven species in the genus, most of which have turnip-like corms and tufts of very narrow or terete leaves from the base. Flowers may be white, yellow or pink with one stamen curiously separate from the other five. The style is long, white and also angled to one side. The inner three petals are often a little different to the outer ones in colour and shape.
People used to collect the corms of several of the Cyanella species and roasted them as food, calling them raaptolle (raap = turnip, tol = (spinning) top in Afrikaans), due to their shape. This species growing in the western inland winter rainfall area, including the Cedarberg, served as food to various indigenous and early settler populations. So did Cyanella lutea, C. orchidiformis and C. hyacinthoides (Fox and Norwood Young, 1982).
When balanced meals could not yet be ensured by supermarkets, the land served the purpose, inculcating a little more respect for the needs of nature in return?