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the web of life in southern Africa

Genus: Chasmanthe

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Monocotyledons > Order: Asparagales > Family: Iridaceae

Three species, endemic to the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, occurring usually in bushy places or on forest margins. Closely related to the genus Crocosmia.

Species native to southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI).


Seeds are bright orange and are thought to be dispersed by birds. Flowers are pollinated by sunbirds. Adaptations of the flower for pollination include (Goldblatt & Manning 2000): 

  • tubular shape
  • upper tepals longer than lower tepals.
  • anthers protruding from the tube (i.e. exserted anthers); and
  • orange or red colour.


  • de Vos, M.P. 1985. Revision of the South African genus Chasmanthe (Iridaceae). South African Journal of Botany 51: 253-261.

  • de Vos, M.P. 1999. Ixia, Tritonia, Crocosmia, Duthieastrum, Chasmanthe. Flora of southern Africa 7,2, fascicle 1: 1-147.

  • Goldblatt, P. & Manning, J.C. 2000. Iridaceae. In: In: Seed Plants of Southern Africa (ed. O.A. Leistner). Strelitzia 10: 623-638. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.