Bobartia is an evergreen genus in the Iridaceae family that has a creeping or erect rhizome as a rootstock. Leaves range from linear and flat to elliptical or round and are usually crowed together basally. Most of the flowers are fleeting and yellow. The 14 species are found in the western and eastern Cape of South Africa and are mostly montane and found in rocky low nutrient sandstone soils and are most conspicuous after fires.
Bobartia gracilis is an evergreen Eastern Cape species with long whip-like leaves and bright yellow flowers in clusters at the tops of willowy stems. It grows in coastal grasslands and blooms sporadically, but especially in spring. Photo by Cameron McMaster.
Bobartia lilacina is an evergreen species found on mountain slopes on shale in the southwestern Cape. It grows from 30 to 70 cm and has narrowly sword-shaped leaves and is the only species with violet flowers. Photos of flowers taken by Rachel Saunders March 2011 in the southwestern Cape. The third photo shows the seedpods.
Bobartia longicyma in found on sandy flats and lower slopes in the southwest and southern Cape. The yellow flowers are enclosed by green to purple spathes, arranged in a small head of long individual clusters. Photos by Cameron McMaster taken in the Overberg.
Bobartia macrocarpa is an evergreen plant growing to 1 m that is found on grassy slopes in the southeastern Cape. This species has terete leaves and yellow flowers enclosed by dull green to brownish spathes arranged in a small head of two to six clusters. Photos taken by Andrew Harvie in the Suurberg area of the southeastern Cape.
Bobartia macrospatha is an evergreen southern Cape species that is found on mountain slopes in fynbos. It grows from 50 to 110 cm with terete to linear leaves. The yellow flowers are arranged in a dense head of mostly 10 to 30 individual clusters and are enclosed by fibrous, slightly inflated spathes. Photos taken by Andrew Harvie in the Buffelsnek State Forest, southern Cape.
Bobartia sp. This unidentified species was blooming in the southwestern Cape in September 2003. Photo by Bob Rutemoeller.