Thereianthus

Thereianthus is a small genus of cormous plants from the southwestern Cape of South Africa in the Iridaceae family. They are unusual for a winter rainfall climate as most species bloom in the dry warm summer months. Flowers are blue, purple, or white. This genus is related to Micranthus but lacks the membraneous bracts and two-ranked spikes of that genus.


Thereianthus bracteolatus is found on dry sandstone slopes in the north and southwest Cape. It has blue, purple or rarely white flowers. The first photo was taken by Rachel Saunders January 2007 at Silvermine where it is growing in very acidic and nutrient poor soils. The second photo was taken by Cameron McMaster near Napier in the Overberg.

Thereianthus bracteolatus, Rachel SaundersThereianthus bracteolatus, Cameron McMaster

Thereianthus ixioides grows on sandstone mountain slopes in the southwestern Cape. Leaves are linear and flowers white with violet markings in the center. The inflorescence is a dense spike. Photos from Rachel Saunders taken near Franschoek show the beetle pollinators.

Thereianthus ixioides, Franschoek, Rachel SaundersThereianthus ixioides, Franschoek, Rachel Saunders

Thereianthus minutus grows in seeps and wet sandstone rocks in the western Cape. Plants grow 10 to 20 cm. high. Leaves are sword-shaped to falcate with a midrib and flowers are bright pinkish purple. Photos taken by Andrew Harvie near Bainskloof.

Thereianthus minutus, Bainskloof, Andrew HarvieThereianthus minutus, Bainskloof, Andrew Harvie

Thereianthus spicatus is found on sandstone slopes in the southwestern Cape. It blooms in spring, especially after fire. Growing 20 to 30 cm. high, it has pale blue to mauve flowers in a dense spike with darker markings on the lower tepals. Photo by Rod Saunders.

Thereianthus spicatus, Rod Saunders

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Page last modified on August 05, 2012, at 05:52 PM