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 A-D are found on this page.
Tritonia bakeri has a long slender tube with dark brown veining on the outer side and purple stamens. The flowers are almost regular, cream to creamy yellow or mauvish pink. It grows on rocky sandstone slopes from the Little Karoo to the southeastern Cape. It flowers October-December. Photos taken by Cameron McMaster at Potjiesberg Pass in the Little Karoo.
Tritonia bakeri ssp. bakeri has flowers that are 65-90 mm long and creamy to creamy yellow. Photos 1-2 taken in the southeastern Cape. Photos 3-4 of a thin-petaled form were taken on the N9 between Montagu Pass and Outeniqua Pass. Photos from Andrew Harvie.
Tritonia bakeri ssp. lilacina has mauvish pink, sometimes cream flowers 35-50 mm. long.
Tritonia chrysantha grows on dry karroid slopes mostly in the southern part of the Eastern Cape. It flowers August to October. Flowers are long-tubed and bright yellow with a yellow callus on the lower tepals, often on a small pinkish red blotch. Photos taken by Bob Rutemoeller of Alan Horstmann’s plants.
Tritonia crispa is now known as Tritonia undulata.
Tritonia crocata is one of the most commonly grown species and one that has been hybridized as well. It has orange to reddish flowers, but without prominent veins. It blooms late spring. It grows on stony clay slopes in the renosterveld in the southern Cape. The first three photos by Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner of California grown plants including a nice companion planting in the garden with Iris douglasiana. The last photo was taken by Alan Horstmann.
T. crocata has naturalized in the California garden of Michael Mace, where it grows at the base of a Japanese maple tree in part shade. The bulbs grow in a layer of mulch on top of the clay subsoil, and are dry in summer. The dead leaves are from Moraea aristata, which has also naturalized in the same spot. The second photo shows a white form that cropped up in the patch.
Tritonia deusta a plant with orange flowers with a yellow star-shaped center and sometimes dark marks on the other tepals is found on clay or granite slopes in renosterveld and grows in the southwest and southern Capes. Photo taken in the Overberg by Cameron McMaster.
Tritonia deusta ssp. deusta has outer segments with a reddish black blotch or stripe with a dark raised ridge or callus. There are sometimes smaller blotches on one or more inner segments. The first two photos were taken by Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner of plants grown from seed in California. The third picture was taken by Alan Horstmann and the last by Cameron McMaster.
Tritonia deusta ssp. miniata does not have dark blotches or stripes on the outer segments. Other segments sometimes has a yellow and oftern red-margined blotch or small dark spot or median line in the throat. Photos by Andrew Harvie taken in the De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Tritonia disticha is found on mountain slopes in grassland and rock outcrops in the south eastern Cape (summer rainfall area) to KwaZulu-Natal. It has sword shaped leaves with a raised midrib and a vein near the margins, bright red, orange, yellow or pink flowers with a yellow blotch on the 3 lower lobes and blooms summer into early fall. The first photograph by Bob Rutemoeller shows one blooming in the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens August 2004 combined nicely with a clump of Agapanthus. The second photo by Mary Sue Ittner illustrates the droopy character of the ones she grows blooming September 2004.
Tritonia drakensbergensis is found on the southern parts of the Drakensberg range in the northern Eastern Cape. It flowers January to March. It has long narrow rigid leaves and red or pinkish scarlet flowers with the tube about half the length of the segments and with low yellow almost triangular shaped calli. Photos by Cameron McMaster taken in the Eastern Cape.
Tritonia dubia has pink to orange flowers with dark veins spirally arranged in dense spikes. It is found on clay slopes in renosterveld and open bush in the southeastern Cape and blooms in early spring. Grown from seed from Silverhill Seed listed as Ixia pumillo, but now correctly identified. The second picture showed plants blooming the next year. This species is the first to bloom for me, often blooming in March months before the other species. Photos by Mary Sue Ittner and Cameron McMaster.