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the web of life in southern Africa

Bulbinella nutans

Waterkatstert [Afrikaans]

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: Xanthorrhoeaceae > Genus: Bulbinella

Bulbinella nutans Bulbinella nutans

Bulbinella nutans, Nieuwoudtville, Northern Cape, South Africa. [photos H.G. Robertson, Iziko ]

Bulbinella nutans Bulbinella nutans

Meloid beetles on Bulbinella nutans ssp. nutans. Overberg near Caledon, Western Cape, South Africa. [photo Colin Paterson-Jones ]

Bulbinella nutans ssp. nutans flowering in spring in fynbos on the Gydo Pass, Western Cape, South Africa. [photo Colin Paterson-Jones ]


  • Geophyte with rhizomes, growing up to 1 m high
  • Flowers yellow or cream coloured, 6-8 mm wide, in elongate spindle-shaped racemes.
  • 5-13 channelled, tapering leaves, each about 25 mm wide.

Distribution and habitat

Bokkeveld Mountains and from the Western Karoo to Swellendam. Occurs mainly in damp clay or peaty soils, usually in seasonly wet areas.


  • Flowers from July to October.


  • Manning, J. & Goldblatt, P. 1997. Nieuwoudtville - Bokkeveld Plateau & Hantam. South African Wild Flower Guide 9. A Guide to the Wild Flowers of Nieuwoudtville, Calvinia, Botterkloof. Botanical Society of Southern Africa, Kirstenbosch.
  • Manning, J. 2007. Field Guide to Fynbos. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.

Text by Hamish Robertson