Sparaxis grandiflora subsp. acutiloba is one of four subspecies of S. grandiflora, all growing in the Western Cape. The four subspecies comprise flower colours of plum red or purple (subsp. grandiflora), yellow and white.
S. grandiflora, the species overall, is a summer deciduous, perennial geophyte, i.e. it produces new above-ground growth every winter from its spherical corm of 1,3 cm in diameter, covered in a fibrous coating. The leaves are sword-shaped with central midribs. The flowers grow in a spiralling spike on a stem that doesn’t branch. The species does not grow axillary cormlets on the stem as are found on some other Sparaxis species.
This subspecies, S. grandiflora subsp. acutiloba with its yellow flowers, is the most commonly cultivated of the four. Its tepal tips are narrower than some of the others, probably giving rise to the subspecies name. There are sometimes dark markings at the tepal bases. This plant grows in the Olifants River Valley, a distribution well restricted within that of the species as a whole.
This subspecies is considered vulnerable early in the twenty first century (Manning, 2009; iSpot; www.plantzafrica.com; www.pacificbulbsociety.org).