Ixia Four

Ixia is a genus in the Iridaceae family with 50 species mainly from the western, southwestern, and southern winter-rainfall areas of the northern, western and eastern Cape Provinces of South Africa. Information and photographs illustrating Ixia P-Z can be found on this page.



Ixia paniculata is found on moist sandy slopes and flats in the northwest and the southwest Cape. It has large cream to biscuit flowers that are often reddish on the outside and in the throat. This species is distinguished by having the longest tube in the genus. The photos below were taken by Mary Sue Ittner . A stray Triteleia laxa has found its way into the pot in the first picture. The second picture illustrates the very long tube and the third shows the corms.

Ixia paniculata, Mary Sue IttnerIxia paniculata, Mary Sue IttnerIxia paniculata, corms, Mary Sue Ittner

Ixia polystachya is found on flats, hills and mountain slopes over a wide range of the northwest and southwest Cape. It has pink, mauve, bluish, or white flowers, often, but not always with a dark center. It has a fairly tall and usually branched stem, but is variable in size, color, number of flowers, form (compact or lax), and leaf width. Photos taken by Mary Sue Ittner.

Ixia polystachya, Mary Sue IttnerIxia polystachya, Mary Sue IttnerIxia polystachya, Mary Sue IttnerIxia polystachya, Mary Sue Ittner

Ixia polystachya var. crassifolia is a form from the western Cape with blue to mauve or purple flowers with a dark blue or purple center. Leaves of this variety are firm with a prominent midrib and margins.

Ixia polystachya  var. crassifolia, Mary Sue Ittner

Ixia purpureorosea is found on limestone and sand in the southwestern Cape. It grows from 20 to 60 cm. high and has 3 to 12 mauve pink flowers with a blackish center on a congested spike. Photo taken by Mary Sue Ittner of a flower that opened during a rainy period and looks a little worse for it.

Ixia purpureorosea, Mary Sue Ittner

Ixia rapunculoides is found on mostly clay soils in renosterveld or karroid scrub in the Cape Province. It has pale blue, mauve, pink , purple or white flowers with 4 or more branches on the flowering stem. It is one of the first Ixias of the ones I grow in Northern California to bloom which means that it is often in bloom during our wettest period and flower stalks that start out standing are soon bending over after it rains. The first two photos were taken by Alan Horstmann. Photos 3-5 were taken by Mary Sue Ittner. The first two were taken during a brief dry period in January 2004. The last photo shows the corms.

Ixia rapunculoides, Alan HorstmannIxia rapunculoides, Alan HorstmannIxia rapunculoides, Mary Sue IttnerIxia rapunculoides, Mary Sue IttnerIxia rapunculoides, corms, Mary Sue Ittner

The first picture from Mary Sue Ittner was taken in the Komsberg and the next two in Calvinia in the Roggeveld. Photos 4-5 were taken by Cameron McMaster near Nieuwoudtville in the Bokkeveld Plateau September 2011.

Ixia rapunculoides, Komsberg, Mary Sue IttnerIxia rapunculoides, Calvinia, Mary Sue IttnerIxia rapunculoides, Calvinia, Mary Sue IttnerIxia rapunculoides, Nieuwoudtville Reserve, Cameron McMasterIxia rapunculoides, Nieuwoudtville, Cameron McMaster

A flower dissection on a 1 mm grid, that same flower on its stem, the corms from which it grew and a white bloom from the same group of corms acquired from Jim Duggan, grown and photographed by M.Gastil-Buhl. These flowers have a faint fragrance when warm.

Ixia rapunculoides, M. Gastil-BuhlIxia rapunculoides, M. Gastil-BuhlIxia rapunculoides corms, M. Gastil-BuhlIxia rapunculoides, M. Gastil-Buhl

Ixia scillaris grows on stony granite, sandstone and clay flats in the northwest and southwest Cape. It has pink, magenta, mauve or white flowers usually with a small greenish or pink center and exserted stamens with split anthers. The first picture below was photographed in South Africa September 2003 by Bob Rutemoeller at Gordon Summerfield 's. The last two were taken by Cameron McMaster near Napier in the Overberg.

Ixia scillaris, Bob RutemoellerIxia scillaris, Napier, Cameron McMasterIxia scillaris, Napier, Cameron McMaster

Ixia stricta grows on hills and mountain slopes in renosterveld from Caledon to Bredasdorp in the Overberg. It has pink flowers with a small darker central pink star. It is very similar to Ixia micrandra but has different corms, firmer and wider leaves, sometimes branching stems, and a longer laxer spike with more and slightly smaller flowers. Photos by Cameron McMaster taken near Bredasdorp.

Ixia stricta,  Bredasdorp, Cameron McMasterIxia stricta,  Bredasdorp, Cameron McMaster

Ixia trifolia has small pink flowers (5-9 per spike) and is found on sandstone slopes in the Roggeveld Escarpment and flowers late winter into spring. The flowers open bright pink, but at least on my plants they fade to light pink as they continue to bloom. The first two photos taken by Mary Sue Ittner are of garden plants. The second two photographs were taken by Cameron McMaster in the Komsberg, an area in the Roggeveld. The fifth was taken by Alan Horstmann, and the sixth by Michael Mace.

Ixia trifolia, Mary Sue IttnerIxia trifolia, Mary Sue IttnerIxia trifolia, Komsberg, Cameron McMasterIxia trifolia, Komsberg, Cameron McMasterIxia trifolia, Alan HorstmannIxia trifolia, Michael Mace

Ixia versicolor grows on sandy flats in the Southwest Cape. It has white or purple flowers with a dark center and exserted stamens. Photo taken by Rod Saunders from Silverhill Seeds.

Ixia versicolor, Rod Saunders

Ixia viridiflora is native to the rocky clay and granite slopes in the southwestern areas of the Western Cape Province. It is one of the more eagerly sought after species because of its striking turquoise flowers. There are two varieties of the species, one is the typical and widely grown variety viridiflora and the other is variety minor which is smaller with a less saturated center. Reportedly somewhat challenging to keep plants going, it may benefit from occasional summer water. Veld & Flora magazine also noted in an article reproduced here that the corms are short-lived, and recommended that they be re-propagated from seed regularly. This species takes 3-4 years to bloom from seeds.

Ixia viridiflora var. viridiflora Photo 1 was grown and photographed by Sheila Burrow in Western Australia. Photo 2 was taken by Kristina Van Wert, who wrote: "sunk into the succulent garden in the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens these plants bloomed much more vigorously than when grown under cover." Photo 3 was taken by Mary Sue Ittner shows the amazing color. Some years the color is more vibrant and brighter than others and some years it blooms much better than others. Photos 4-6 were taken by Nhu Nguyen.

Ixia viridiflora, Sheila BurrowIxia viridiflora, Kristina Van WertIxia viridiflora, Mary Sue IttnerIxia viridiflora var. viridiflora, Nhu NguyenIxia viridiflora var. viridiflora, Nhu NguyenIxia viridiflora var. viridiflora, Nhu Nguyen

Ixia viridiflora var. minor The photos below were taken by Nhu Nguyen. It takes 3 years for this variety to bloom from seeds, even in a tiny pot. It loves having more room and blooms much better that way.

Ixia viridiflora var. minor, Nhu NguyenIxia viridiflora var. minor, Nhu NguyenIxia viridiflora var. minor, Nhu NguyenIxia viridiflora var. minor, Nhu Nguyen

Ixia A-L - Ixia M-O - Ixia index


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Page last modified on September 24, 2015, at 08:08 AM