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 A-C can be found on this page.
Ixia brunneobractea is endemic to the Bokkeveld Mountains where it grows in sandy soils in seep and marshes and flowers September to October. It grows from 25 to 45 cm. and has white to cream colored flowers that are sometimes pink on the reverse of the outer tepals. It is distinguished by its glossy chestnut colored bracts that are sometimes torn as the apex. Photos taken in the Nieuwoudtville Reserve by Cameron McMaster September 2011.
Ixia calendulacea Goldblatt & J.C.Manning, syn. Ixia maculata var. intermedia G.J.Lewis, is a northern and western Cape species where it grows in deep well drained sandy soils. Growing to 25 cm, this showy species with orange or orange-red flowers with a dark center is threatened by development in the areas where it grows. Flowers close to a degree when the temperature drops. Photo from Rachel Saunders.
Ixia campanulata Houtt. has bright red flowers. Unfortunately, it is not widely available. A photograph can be seen in the article here.
Ixia curta Andrews grows on sandy flats and slopes in the southwest Cape. This species flowers in spring. Flowers are orange with a brown center often outlined by a reddish center. It is similar to Ixia monadelpha but has bowl-shaped flowers and wider segments. The first two photos from Mary Sue Ittner and Bob Rutemoeller show a plant grown from seed. The last four photos were taken by Cameron McMaster near Darling September 2011.
Ixia dubia Vent. is a species with orange or yellow flowers, often with dark centers, and is found on sandstone and granite flats and slopes in the Cape from Piketberg to Caldon. Photos by Mary Sue Ittner. The third picture taken by Roy Herold in the hills above Muizenburg, south of Cape Town, in October 2002 of this plant is probably this species.
The orange flowered version (syn. Ixia frederickii ) was once considered to be a separate species found from only two localities in the southwest Cape and blooming in October. Photos by Mary Sue Ittner. The last shows the corms.
Ixia flexuosa L. is found on clay flats and slopes from the Cape Peninsula to Riversdale and therefore is found in areas with winter rainfall and year round rainfall. It blooms winter to spring and has small pink, mauve, or white flowers, sometimes with deeper pink veins. The first photo by Bob Rutemoeller is of one blooming April 2003 in Northern California. The second through fourth pictures were taken by Cameron McMaster in Napier, Fairfield, and Stormsvei in the Overberg. The fifth photo was taken by Michael Mace in California.
Ixia gloriosa G.J.Lewis is found on clay slopes in renosterveld in the Montagu district. It has deep pink flowers with a shining purple-black center. Stamens are erect and black. Photo taken by Bob Rutemoeller in the Little Karoo September 2003 of what we think is this species since it matches the description and was found in the right place blooming at the right time.
Ixia hybrids. The first three photos are from Mary Sue Ittner. Hybrids planted in the ground have increased dramatically in her Northern California garden as they produce small cormlets around the corm. They make quite a show, but can be really floppy, especially if it rains when they are in bloom. The last photo is a named variety, Ixia 'Venus,' photographed by Michael Mace. It was obtained at the San Francisco Landscape Garden Show in the 1990s, and was labeled as a selection of Ixia paniculata, but that is hard to believe. It's probably a hybrid. It's easy to grow in California, and persists when grown in the ground but doesn't seem to spread. The flowers are vibrant magenta, even brighter than the photo can show.
Ixia latifolia D.Delaroche grows on flats and mountains in mostly clay soil in Namaqualand and the western and southwestern Cape to the Karoo. It has sword-shaped broad leaves and three to seven pink to purple or mauve flowers, rarely white. The stamens are erect and the filaments well exserted. It is similar to Ixia rapunculoides and Ixia marginifolia. Photo from Rod Saunders from Silverhill Seeds.
Ixia latifolia var. latifolia has wide leaves and a straight terminal spike. Photos were taken by Mary Sue Ittner and illustrate the flowers, leaves, and corms. Blooming for the first time from seed February 2006.
Ixia longituba N.E.Br. grows on hills, flats and shale slopes from Caledon to Swellendam and blooms late September to November. It has cream colored to pink flowers sometimes flushed pink on the outside. Photos taken at Caledon and Napier in the Overberg by Cameron McMaster.
Ixia lutea Eckl. is a synonym for Ixia abbreviata Houtt., a species of the Western Cape where it is found on clay flats and slopes in renosterveld. Once considered to be var. lutea (flowers cream to yellow with a dark center) and now considered to be var. abbreviata the plant in the photo was grown from seed of Ixia conferta var. ochroleuca now renamed. Photos by Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner