Merwilla plumbea is a bulbous perennial of grassland in the east of South Africa. Coastal distribution also occurs in parts of the Eastern Province and southern KwaZulu-Natal. The plant often grows among rocks where it usually, as here, survives the winter grass fires that sweep over this terrain far too regularly.
The green or amethyst flower stalk of Merwilla plumbea curves gracefully, as a snake might hold its head if one heeds the Afrikaans common name of blouslangkop. The cylindrical raceme carries many small blue or mauve flowers on long, straight pedicels. The flowers are star-shaped with white filaments, but also variable in colour and size.
Flowering happens annually in spring or early summer (Manning, 2009; www.plantzafrica.com).