Colchicum volutare, previously known as Androcymbium volutare, is a perennial growing from a deep-seated corm.
The long, narrow leaves are channelled, hairy and usually coiled at their tips. They are up to 12 cm long, rarely as wide as 1 cm low down where they are widest.
The few flowers in the inflorescence growing on very short pedicels are hidden behind large, broadly ovate bracts. The longitudinally lined bracts turn cream or lemon-green when the plant flowers, in picture appearing inflated. There are six oblong anthers in each flower. The slender styles recurve.
Flowering happens late in winter and early in spring.
Rodents force the bracts open to reach the flowers, pollinating them while feeding. It is not known whether there are other pollinators for the species as well. The first evidence of rodent pollination of Colchicum involved two other species, viz. C. scabromarginatum and C. coloratum.
The fruit capsule is nearly globose.
The species distribution is in the southwest of the Northern Cape into the Tankwa Karoo in the Western Cape and as far east as the west of the Little Karoo.
The habitat is succulent Karoo and scrub in gravelly clay soils. The species is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2015; JSTOR; iNaturalist; Kleizen, et al, 2008: Pollination Systems of Colchicum (Colchicaceae) in Southern Africa: Evidence for Rodent Pollination. 102(5) 747-755; Louis Jordaan, personal communication; https://www.pacificbulbsociety.org; http://redlist.sanbi.org).