Tritonia Two

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 F-K - Tritonia L-U


Tritonia bakeri Klatt grows on rocky sandstone slopes from the Little Karoo to the southeastern Cape. Plants are up to 60 cm tall and flowers are almost regular, cream to creamy yellow or mauvish pink with a long slender tube with dark brown veining on the outer side and purple stamens. It flowers October-December.

Tritonia bakeri ssp. bakeri has flowers that are 65-90 mm long and creamy to creamy yellow. The first two photos were taken by Cameron McMaster at Potjiesberg Pass in the Little Karoo. The other photos were taken by Andrew Harvie. Photos 3-4 taken in the southeastern Cape. Photos 5-6 of a thin-petaled form were taken on the N9 between Montagu Pass and Outeniqua Pass.

Tritonia bakeri, Potjiesberg Pass, Cameron McMasterTritonia bakeri, Potjiesberg Pass, Cameron McMasterTritonia bakeri ssp. bakeri, Andrew HarvieTritonia bakeri ssp. bakeri, Andrew HarvieTritonia bakeri ssp. bakeri, Andrew HarvieTritonia bakeri ssp. bakeri, Andrew Harvie

Tritonia bakeri ssp. lilacina (L.Bolus) M.P.de Vos has mauvish pink, sometimes cream flowers with a somewhat shorter tube (35-50 mm long). Photo from the book Plants of the Klein Karoo courtesy of Jan and Anne Lise Schutte-Vlok.

Tritonia bakeri ssp. lilacina, Jan and Anne Lise Schutte-Vlok

Tritonia chrysantha Fourc. grows on dry karroid slopes mostly in the southern part of the Eastern Cape. It flowers August to October and grows to 40 cm tall, but is usually much smaller. Leaves are broad and flowers are long-tubed and bright yellow with a yellow callus on the lower tepals, often on a small pinkish red blotch. The first two photos taken by Bob Rutemoeller of Alan Horstmann’s plants. The third photo from the book Plants of the Klein Karoo courtesy of Jan and Anne Lise Schutte-Vlok.

Tritonia chrysantha, Bob RutemoellerTritonia chrysantha, Bob RutemoellerTritonia chrysantha, Jan and Anne Lise Schutte-Vlok

Tritonia crispa (L.f.) Ker Gawl. is now known as Tritonia undulata.


Tritonia crocata (L.) Ker Gawl. 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.

Tritonia crocata, Bob RutemoellerTritonia crocata, Mary Sue IttnerTritonia crocata, Mary Sue IttnerTritonia crocata, Alan Horstmann

Tritonia 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 crocata, Michael MaceTritonia crocata, white form, Michael Mace

Tritonia deusta (Aiton) Ker Gawl., 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.

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 two by Cameron McMaster taken in the Overberg.

Tritonia deusta, Bob RutemoellerTritonia deusta, Mary Sue IttnerTritonia deusta, Alan HorstmannTritonia deusta, Bredasdorp, Cameron McMasterTritonia deusta, Arniston, Cameron McMaster

Tritonia deusta ssp. miniata (Jacq.) M.P.de Vos does not have dark blotches or stripes on the outer segments. Other segments sometimes have a yellow and often 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 deusta ssp. miniata, Andrew HarvieTritonia deusta ssp. miniata, Andrew HarvieTritonia deusta ssp. miniata, Andrew Harvie

Tritonia disticha (Klatt) Baker is found on mountain slopes in grassland and rock outcrops in the southeastern 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 disticha, Bob RutemoellerTritonia disticha, Mary Sue Ittner

Photos by 1-3 from Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner taken January 2010 at Gaika's Kop. The last two photos were taken by Cameron McMaster at Mt. Thomas in the Eastern Cape.

Tritonia disticha, Gaika's Kop, Bob RutemoellerTritonia disticha, Gaika's Kop, Bob RutemoellerTritonia disticha, Gaika's Kop, Mary Sue IttnerTritonia disticha, Mt. Thomas, Cameron McMasterTritonia disticha, Mt. Thomas, Cameron McMaster

Tritonia drakensbergensis M.P.de Vos 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 drakensbergensis, Maclear, Cameron McMasterTritonia drakensbergensis, Naudes Nek, Cameron McMasterTritonia drakensbergensis, Woodcliffe, Cameron McMasterTritonia drakensbergensis, Woodcliffe, Cameron McMaster

Tritonia dubia Eckl. ex Klatt 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, it is 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.

Tritonia dubia, Mary Sue IttnerTritonia dubia, Mary Sue IttnerTritonia dubia, Cameron McMaster

Tritonia F-K - Tritonia L-U - Tritonia index


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