Tricliceras lacerata, commonly lion’s eyes, is a slender perennial herb that grows from a woody rootstock. It belongs to the Turneraceae family that mainly occurs in tropical America, although Africa has some members. Some place the genus in Passifloraceae. Tricliceras used to belong in the genus Wormskoldia.
The branched stems have simple, sessile, alternate leaves. The leaves are long, narrowly oblong, sometimes with laterally protruding lobes, also narrow. The whitish leaf midribs are conspicuous. Leaf margins are toothed, the leaf tips acutely pointed.
The brick-orange flowers grow well spaced along slender racemes. Tiny, pointed green bracts, hairy like the flower stalks, are found below each stalk. Five hairy green sepals hold the base of the long, thin corolla tube. The five corolla lobes with rounded tips spread around the tiny, star-shaped, yellow flower mouth in a radially symmetric shape. The stamens are positioned opposite the sepals. The outside of the corolla is paler in colour than the inside. The superior ovary has only one locule. Flowering happens from midspring through summer.
T. lacerata grows in open grassland in hot, high rainfall areas along the coast of northern KwaZulu-Natal and in the Mpumalanga and Limpopo Lowveld. It is also found in Swaziland and probably in the far south of Mozambique. This one was seen in the central region of the Kruger National Park.
There is a yellow flowering species, T. glanduliferum in Highveld grassland as well as several others with orange flowers, such as T. longepedunculatum that is sometimes eaten as a vegetable, T. schinzii that grows in Zimbabwe and T. mossambicense with smooth leaf margins (Riley, 1963; iSpot).