Tritonia is a cormous genus in the Iridaceae family from southern Africa. Most of them are in the winter rainfall regions or areas with some rain year round, but there are summer rainfall species too. They occur in a variety of habitats: grassland in summer rainfall areas, renosterveld, karroid scrub, and fynbos in winter rainfall areas. Tritonia species L-U are found on this page.
Tritonia laxifolia is found on grassy slopes from the Eastern Cape to southern Tanzania. It grows from 20 to 40 cm. and has long tubed reddish to orange flowers that face to one side. The lower tepals have a yellow tooth-like callus. It blooms in the fall. It is very similar to Tritonia securigera but blooms at a different time, has smaller flowers and a white throat with slender dark lines. Photos by Cameron McMaster. The first is a close-up that helps show some of the distinctive features of this flower. The last two taken in habitat in the Eastern Cape.
Tritonia lineata renamed by Goldblatt and Manning in 2006 to Tritonia gladiolaris
Tritonia pallida is a species with cream or white, occasionally pale lilac flowers with a yellowish green median ridge on the lower tepals. It is found on sandstone and clay slopes in the Little Karoo and coastal areas in the Southern Cape. From Rogan Roth, "It grows plentifully in the mountains south of Calitzdorp in the Little Karoo. What I find most interesting about the flower is the prominent yellow crest on each of the lower three tepals". Photo 1 by Rogan Roth. Photos 2-3 taken by Andrew Harvie near Barrydale.
Tritonia parvula is closely related to Tritonia securigera and grows in some of the same areas but has a more flaccid habit and the flowers are smaller. It has reddish to orange flowers. The lower tepals each have a tooth-like yellow callus. It flowers in spring and grows on stony sandstone soils in the Karoo and the Southern Cape to the Eastern Cape area. Photos by Cameron McMaster.
Tritonia securigera is another reddish-orange to salmon and sometimes yellow flowered species with many flowers in a spike all facing to one side. It has a yellow throat and large axe-shaped calli on the lower segments (the Latin name means 'carrying an axe'). It grows on clay slopes in mixed rainfall areas (the Karoo, coastal Southern Cape to the Eastern Cape). It blooms late spring to early summer. The first two photos was taken by Cameron McMaster. The second photo was taken near Oudtshoorn in the Little Karoo. The third photo by Bob Rutemoeller is of plants grown from seed in California and the next two photos from Mary Sue Ittner show the plants and corms. Photo 6 by Caroline Langensiepen shows the axe like markings.
Tritonia squalida is very similar to Tritonia crocata but has pink or mauvish pink to almost white flowers with deeper pink veins and claws with hyaline marginal zones. It has almost regular cup-shaped flowers which make it look very different from many of the other species. The flowers are very beautiful in spite of the ugly species name which refers to the dirty mauve color of herbarium specimens. It is found on limestone outcrops and calcareous sands in the Southern Cape. Photo by Mary Sue Ittner.
Tritonia undulata syn. Tritonia crispa is widespread in the western Cape where it grows on rocky sandstone slopes in fynbos. It has cream to pale yellow or pink long tubed flowers with a red or purple center and red markings. The leaves have undulate and crisped margins. It flowers late spring to early summer. Photo 1 from Rod Saunders. Photos 2-3 taken by Andrew Harvie near Tulbagh. Photos 4-5 by David Retief.