The specific name of Colchicum striatum is aptly the Latin word striatum meaning stripe. The typifying stripes occur on the much noticed white bracts around the shy flowerhead.
The plant is a low-growing perennial issuing a few leaves, an erect stem and flowerhead annually from a small, dark, underground corm. A few broadly ovate leaves sheathe the stem at its base and higher up.
The plant is found in the South African provinces north of the Vaal River, the Easern Free State, the Eastern Cape and the northeast of the Western Cape. It also grows in Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia and probably further afield, at least to Kenya. The plant occurs at altitudes from 1800 m to 3000 m.
The habitat is summer rainfall grassland among rocks in damp patches. The species is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century (Germishuizen and Fabian, 1982; Blundell, 1987; http://redlist.sanbi.org).