home   about   search

biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Genus: Ixia

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

Endemic to Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape, with 69 species present.

Some species are pollinated by bees others by monkey beetles. The long-tongued flies Moegistorhynchus longirostris (Nemestrinidae) and Philoliche rostrata (Tabanidae) pollinate Ixia paniculata. Philoliche rostrata also pollinates other long-tubed species such as Ixia longituba  and Ixia pauciflora (Goldblatt & Manning 2000).

Species native to southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI) and Red List of South African Plants: Ixia.

Ixia abbreviata

Var. abbreviata, considered Near Threatened, occurs from Piketberg to Paarl on clay and gravel slopes and flats in renosterbos whereas Var. ovata, considered, Endangered, occurs from Piketberg to Porterville on sandy, usually damp, flats.

Ixia acaulis

Distribution is limited to the farm Rooiberg on the Knersvlakte, near Vanrhynsdorp, Western Cape, South Africa, where it occurs in rock cracks on limestone ridges. Unusual for Ixia in having a short, subterranean stem with single, terminal flowers and a subterranean ovary.

Ixia alata

Roggeveld Escarpment south of Calvinia, Northern Cape, South Africa, in deep clay and sandy soils among rocky outcrops on gentle slopes


Ixia amethystina

Occurs near Middelpos on the Roggeveld Escarpment, Northern Cape, South Africa.


Ixia atrandra

Occurs from Villiersdorp to Worcester, Western Cape, South Africa, in renosterveld on clay soils.

Ixia aurea

Occurs in a few isolated populations from Piketberg to Citrusdal and Darling, Western Cape, South Africa. Known from Granite Fynbos above the Darling to Yzerfontein road.


Ixia bellendenii

Known only from Jonaskop in the Riviersonderend Mountains, Western Cape, South Africa, where it is found in fynbos on lower and middle slopes facing north, among rocks in loamy sand.


Ixia brevituba

Distribution is limited to near the escarpment on the Roggeveld plateau, south and southwest of Sutherland, Northern Cape, South Africa. Occurs on wet clay flats along water courses.


Ixia brunneobractea

Occurs near Nieuwoudtville in the Northern Cape, South Africa, in marshy places close to the edge of the escarpment (600-900 m elevation). Prefers deep sandy soils.


Ixia calendulacea

Broadly distributed on the West Coast coastal plain, from the Groenrivier Mouth in the Northern Cape to Langebaan in the Western Cape, South Africa, and occurring inland to Porterville and the Olifants River Valley. Also recorded from a small population on the Cape Flats, near Cape Town.


Ixia campanulata

Occurs on sandy flats and at the foot of mountains in the Tulbagh, Paarl and Worcester districts of the Western Cape, South Africa.


Ixia capillaris

Widespread in the southwestern region of the Western Cape, South Africa: from Clanwilliam to Cape Town, Ceres, Worcester, Ladismith, Laingsburg and Riversdale. Has a broad habitat range that includes flats, hills and mountain slopes, in sandy or clay soils.


Ixia cedarmontana

Distribution includes the Cederberg, Koue Bokkeveld and Groot Winterhoek mountains, Western Cape, South Africa, where it occurs on moist sandstone flats, and in seeps and seasonal marshes.


Ixia cochlearis

Occurs or occurred on the slopes of the Jonkershoek and Banhoek Mountains near Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa, but has not been recorded since 1946.


Ixia collina

Distribution is limited to the Breede River valley south of Worcester, where it occurs on moist, south-facing clay slopes of hills with karoo vegetation.


Ixia contorta


Ixia curta

Occurs on sandy flats and hill slopes in the Darling, Malmesbury, Hopefield and Saldanha districts, Western Cape, South Africa.


Ixia curvata

Occurs on the Calvinia and Great Roggeveld plateau.


Ixia dieramoides



Ixia divaricata

Ranges from the south-western Cederberg east of Citrusdal, through the Koue Bokkeveld to the Hex River Mountains. Occurs on seasonally wet, stony sandstone flats.


Ixia dolichosiphon

Known only from fynbos on the lower stony southern slopes of the Keeromsberg in the Hex River Valley, Western Cape, South Africa.


Ixia dubia

Distributed from Piketberg to the Cape Peninsula, to Caledon, Western Cape, South Africa. Occurs in fynbos on sandy flats and mountain slopes.

Ixia ecklonii

Only recorded once, in the early 19th Century. No locality was given but it is considered to have been collected from the Olifants River Valley, near Citrusdal, Western Cape, South Africa. Possibly extinct.


Ixia erubescens

Distribution extends from Piketberg and Tulbagh to Worcester, Paarl, Stellenbosch, and to Caledon, Western Cape, South Africa (de Vos, 1999a). Occurs on stony or clay flats and hill slopes.


Ixia esterhuyseniae

Occurs in a small area of fynbos on the Jonkershoek and Hottentot Holland Mountains, Western Cape, South Africa, at an elevation of 900-1200 m (de Vos, 1999a). Grows in seeps and along drainage lines


Ixia exiliflora



Ixia flexuosa

Distribution extends from the Cape Peninsula to Riversdale in the Western Cape, South Africa. It has a broad habitat tollerance, being found on flats, hills and mountain slopes, in clay or sandy soils


Ixia fucata

Ixia gloriosa


Ixia lacerata


Ixia latifolia

Ixia leipoldtii


Ixia longituba


Ixia maculata

Ixia marginifolia


Ixia metelerkampiae

Ixia micrandra

Ixia monadelpha


Ixia mostertii


Ixia namaquana


Ixia odorata

Ixia orientalis


Ixia oxalidiflora


Ixia paniculata

Ixia patens


Ixia pauciflora


Ixia paucifolia


Ixia polystachya

Ixia pumilio


Ixia purpureorosea

Ixia rapunculoides

Ixia reclinata


Ixia rivulicola


Ixia robusta


Ixia rouxii


Ixia scillaris

Ixia sobolifera


Ixia splendida


Ixia stohriae


Ixia stolonifera


Ixia stricta


Ixia superba

Recorded from a small area at the foot of the Langeberg in the Little Karoo, east of Montagu, Western Cape, South Africa; growing in loamy, sandstone to light clay soils at the interface between Table Mountain Sandstone and Bokkeveld shales.


Ixia tenuifolia

Ixia thomasiae


Ixia trifolia


Ixia trinervata


Ixia vanzijliae


Ixia versicolor


Ixia vinacea


Ixia viridiflora


Publications (by date)

  • Lewis GJ. 1962. South African Iridaceae. The genus Ixia. Journal of South African Botany 28: 45-195.

  • de Vos MP. 1999. Ixia. In: Flora of southern Africa 7(2), fascicle 1: 3-87.

  • Goldblatt P, Bernhardt P, Manning JC. 2000. Adaptive radiation of pollination mechanisms in Ixia (Iridaceae: Crocoideae). Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 87(4): 564-577. jstor

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

  • Goldblatt P, Manning JC. 2001. Two new renosterveld species of Crocoideae from South Africa. Bothalia 31(2):189-212.

  • Manning JC, Goldblatt P. 2006. New species of Iridaceae from the Hantam-Roggeveld Centre of Endemism, and the Bokkeveld, Northern Cape, South Africa. Bothalia 36(2):139-145.

  • Goldblatt P, Manning JC. 2008. Systematics of the southern African genus Ixia (Iridaceae). 1. The I. rapunculoides complex. Bothalia 38(1): 1-22.

  • Goldblatt P, Manning JC. 2010. Iridaceae: Reappraisal of Ixia maculata with I. calendulacea sp. nov., and an earlier name for I. lutea. Bothalia 40(1): 59-64.

  • Goldblatt P, Manning JC. 2011. Systematics of the southern African genus Ixia (Iridaceae). 3. Sections Hyalis and Morphixia. Bothalia 41(1):83-134.