Lachenalia bulbifera

Botanical name

Lachenalia bulbifera

Other names

Lachenalia pendula; Cape cowslip; rooinaeltjie (Afrikaans)




Small, deciduous perennial bulbous plant, with flower may reach 30 cm

Description of stem

Leaves and flower stem emanate from the bulb

Description of leaves

On or two green, broadly lanceolate, folding around the flower stem at the base, semi-erect, sometimes with purple spots on the upper surface

Description of flowers

About five to fifteen crimson to coral red tubular flowers hang from the single, sturdy flower stem, about 3 cm long when fully developed, the inner tepal tips tinged with green and purple markings; occur in autumn or winter

Desciption of seed/fruit

Oblong papery capsules contain round black seeds

Description of roots

Whitish, spreading from the bottom of the bulb; the bulb is round or flattened, fleshy, covered in a membranous tunic


Flower colour variations include pink, orange and occasionally yellow varieties

Propagation and cultivation

Sandy or loam, kept moist, well-drained; semi-shade, needs some direct sunlight; best grown in containers outside of the natural habitat of the Western Cape winter rainfall area; bulblets multiply naturally from healthy plants; can be grown from seed; leaf cuttings may yield bulbs if kept moist in suitable conditions




Garden or (unheated) greenhouse plant

Ecological rarity


Pests and diseases

Mealie bug and rust fungus


Pollinated by sunbirds


High winter rainfall coastal grass and scrub areas, on grassy dunes and granite outcrops

Distribution (SA provinces)

Western Cape


South Africa