The leaves of Eucomis vandermerwei, a dwarf geophytic member of the Eucomis genus, are covered in scattered purple spots that add to the attraction. The ovoid bulb and fleshy roots that sustain the plant for sprouting new leaves each spring, are associated with the descriptive term of geophyte. The plant is summer growing when there is rain, winter dormant with no above-ground parts in the cold.
The distribution of E. vandermerwei is in grassland from around Middelburg in Mpumalanga eastwards to the Steenkampsberge. This is a region where much farming activity is conducted, causing E. vandermerwei to be considered vulnerable in habitat early in the twenty first century. Habitat loss is due to overgrazing and trampling by livestock, traditional medicine harvesting and inappropriate winter fire practices in the veld where the plants grow (www.plantzafrica.com; www.redlist.sanbi.org).