Moraea polyanthos, commonly the manyflower tulp or in Afrikaans the bloutulp (blue tulp) and previously Homeria lilacina, is a perennial reaching heights from 15 cm to 60 cm. It grows from a spherical corm covered in a thick, fibrous tunic. Two or more furrowed leaves are grown.
The six blue tepals forming a spreading corolla are arranged in two concentric whorls. The outer three are larger, slightly differently shaped. In picture the outer ones are slightly oblanceolate, tapering abruptly in angular manner and attenuate to acute tips. The inner ones are narrower and oblong with rounded tips. Yellow nectar guides are present on all the tepals, mostly down inside the throat and smaller on the inner tepals. The stamens and style are fused into one central column, exserted above the throat. There are vestigial stigma crests.
This configuration varies considerably across the range of forms found for this interesting flower: The flowers may be white, several shades of blue or violet with nectar guides of varying shapes and sizes or without them. All the tepals may be oblong with bluntly pointed tips. Flowers appear from late winter to mid-spring.
The species distribution is in the Western and Eastern Cape, from Worcester through the Little Karoo to Uitenhage and coastally from Swellendam And Gouritsmond to George.
The habitat is fynbos, grassland and karoid scrub in clayey soils, on flats and lower slopes, often among rocks. The species is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2015; Moriarty, 1997; Bond and Goldblatt, 1984; iSpot; http://redlist.sanbi.org).