The genus Moraea can be divided into five groups: Galaxia, Gynandriris, Hexaglottis, Homeria, and Moraea. Homeria which was once considered to be a separate genus in the Iridaceae family is now included in Moraea. There are about 32 species of this Moraea subgroup native to southern Africa. They have long narrow basal leaves, sometimes only one per corm and large yellow, pink, orange, or bicolor flowers with six fairly equal tepals. The leaves of some species can be poisonous and are avoided by sheep and cattle and can then multiply freely. Some species have a reputation of being weedy and they are not welcomed in Australia because of the agricultural concerns. In the United States, five species in the Homeria group are classified by the federal government as "noxious weeds:" M. collina, flaccida, miniata, ochroleuca, and pallida. It is not legal to import them or transfer them between states without a permit. The plants are, though, allowed within California by the state government. Homerias are not very hardy so there is little danger of their becoming weedy in climates not to their liking, and even in mild climates like California they are not particularly aggressive in the garden. But it's probably wise to keep them away from open range-land. Although the flowers only last a day or two, some of the species produce flowers over a long period. Information and pictures of the other Moraea groups can be found by clicking on these groups or the Moraea group pages listed below or found in the Moraea index where all species are listed alphabetically.
Homeria subgroup species K-Z are found on this wiki page.
Moraea karroica (syn. Homeria tricolor) is found in clay soils in renosterveld and karroid bush in the Roggeveld, northwest Cape, and the western Karoo. It has a single clasping leaf and salmon to deep pink flowers with a yellow center edged in red or purple. Seen in the Komsberg September 2006 and photographed by Mary Sue Ittner.
Moraea marlothii (syn. Homeria marlothii) is tall plant with a wide long grey green leaf and yellow or salmon nodding flowers with green specks. It grows on sandstone rocks or heavy clay soils in the northwest Cape and the western Karoo. The corm gets to be rather large and I never had success getting it to bloom until I planted it in the ground. It seems much happier where it has more root room. The first two photos by Mary Sue Ittner and the last two photos taken in habitat by Andrew Harvie in the Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve.
Moraea miniata (syn. Homeria miniata) is widespread. It has two or three linear leaves, usually salmon flowers, but sometimes yellow or white and is minutely speckled in the center. It is poisonous and has a number of ways of spreading (by cormlets in the leaf axils sometimes). It is banned in Australia and to be avoided in areas where it can thrive and become a problem. Photos taken September 2006 near Middelpos by Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner where it was seen blooming in mass in a year with extra rainfall. The first picture shows a stand of them and the others show a plants with leaves and close-ups. One had extra tepals.
Photos 1-2 from Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner of plants with white flowers blooming in Namaqualand September 2006. Photo 3 taken in Namaqualand by Cameron McMaster September 2011 shows the more usual color form.
Moraea ochroleuca (syn. Homeria ochroleuca) found on rocky sandstone slopes in the northwest and the southwest Cape and blooming in spring has yellow, orange, or bicolored flowers. It has a wide spreading tepal cup and an unpleasant smell. Photographs taken September 2006 by Bob Rutemoeller, Mary Sue Ittner, and Rod Saunders near a back trail in the undeveloped part of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden that had burned previously.
The next two photos were taken in habitat by Andrew Harvie in Table Mountain National Park. The side view was taken on the Bridle Path, Table Mountain and the second on Lion's Head. The last photo was taken by Alan Horstmann.
Moraea pendula (syn. Homeria pendula) is found in the Kamiesberg, Namaqualand, South Africa, in moist places at base of rocks and near streams; the flowers are yellow, tepals reflexed, anthers red. Photo #1 was taken by Bob Rutemoeller. Photos #2-3 were contributed by the UC Botanical Garden.
Moraea radians (syn. Homeria radians) grows in clay soils in renosterveld in the southwest cape and flowers late winter to spring. It has a single trailing linear leaf and cream flowers with a yellow center. Photo by Alan Horstmann.
Moraea schlechteri (syn. Homeria schlechteri) has two lanceolate leaves with a broad sheathing base. It has small yellow flowers grouped at the ends of the stems and is found in Namaqualand in flat sandy places. First two photos taken September 2007 in Namaqualand by Mary Sue Ittner. Photos 3-4 taken by Cameron McMaster September 2011 in Namaqualand. Other two photos are of a cultivated form with dark nectar guides, taken in California by Michael Mace.
Moraea umbellata (syn. Rheome umbellata) is found on seasonally wet sandstone flats and plateaus in the western Cape. It grows to 45 cm high with a stem branched above the leaves and the flowers arranged on the stalk so they look like an umbel. Flowers are pale yellow and appear September to November making this one of the later species in this group to bloom in the wild. Photo taken by Margaret Fox near Ceres.
Moraea vallisbelli (syn. Homeria vallisbelli) is found in the northwest Cape growing in rocky sandstone soils. It has a single linear channeled leaf and is yellow, salmon, or pink with darkly outlined yellow nectar guides. Photos by Mary Sue Ittner taken September 2006 near Nieuwoudtville.
Galaxia - Gynandriris - Hexaglottis - Homeria A-J - Moraea group A - Moraea group B - Moraea group C-E - Moraea group F - Moraea group G-I - Moraea group J-M - Moraea group N-R - Moraea group S - Moraea group T - Moraea group U-V - Moraea hybrids - Moraea index