Tritoniopsis

Tritoniopsis is a species in the Iridaceae family that is found mostly in the southwestern Cape of South Africa, most often growing in sandstone soils in fynbos. Most of the species are summer flowering, flowering when the leaves are dry and withered. Many of them are triggered into flower by fire. Flowers are usually pink to purple or red, but there are some species with white, yellow, brown, or cream flowers. Leaves lack a definite midrib and have more than one main vein. More information can be found by consulting Manning, Goldblatt, Snijman listed in References. In 1990 Peter Goldblatt included the former genus Anapalina in this genus. Some of the species were also included in Antholyza and Homoglossum in the past.


Tritoniopsis antholyza has been included in the past in Anapalina and Antholyza under a number of names. It is found on rocky sandstone slopes over a wide area. It has tubular salmon pink to red flowers in a dense spike. Photos by Cameron McMaster taken in 3 locations in the Overberg.

Tritoniopsis antholyza, Drayton, Cameron McMasterTritoniopsis antholyza, Cameron McMasterTritoniopsis antholyza, Napier, Cameron McMaster

Tritoniopsis bicolor grows in seasonally waterlogged plateaus in the southwest Cape. It has yellow sweetly scented flowers with brown to maroon markings in a dense spike. Photos by Cameron McMaster taken near Napier in the Overberg in October.

Tritoniopsis bicolor, Napier, Cameron McMasterTritoniopsis bicolor, Napier, Cameron McMasterTritoniopsis bicolor, Napier, Cameron McMaster

Tritoniopsis burchellii, syn. Anapalina burchellii, syn. Antholyza burchellii, grows on rocky sandstone slopes over a wide area and has tubular scarlet flowers in a dense spike. It blooms summer into fall. Photos by Cameron McMaster taken near Bredasdorp in the Overberg in March.

Tritoniopsis burchelli, Bredasdorp, Cameron McMasterTritoniopsis burchelli, Bredasdorp, Cameron McMaster

Tritoniopsis caffra, syn. Anapalina caffra, syn. Antholyza caffra, is found on sandstone slopes in the southern to southeast Cape in areas where it would get year round rainfall. It has bright red flowers in long spikes and blooms in late spring to summer, but may be opportunistic. The first two photos by Liz Waterman. The last three photos were taken by Mary Sue Ittner who planted this out in her garden and thought it had died and years later was surprised to see blooms followed by interesting seed pods.

Tritoniopsis caffra, Liz WatermanTritoniopsis caffra, Liz WatermanTritoniopsis caffra, Mary Sue IttnerTritoniopsis caffra, Mary Sue IttnerTritoniopsis caffra, Mary Sue Ittner

Habitat shots pictured below. The first from Cameron McMaster shows a plant blooming in habitat in the Eastern Cape. The next two photos were taken by Andrew Harvie northwest of Knysna.

Tritoniopsis caffra, Cameron McMasterTritoniopsis caffra, Andrew HarvieTritoniopsis caffra, Andrew Harvie

Tritoniopsis flexuosa is found on clay slopes in renosterveld in the southwest Cape and the Agulhas Plain. The pale pink flowers have a darker pink median streak. It flowers January to February. Photos by Cameron McMaster taken near Napier in the Overberg in February.

Tritoniopsis flexuosa, Napier, Cameron McMasterTritoniopsis flexuosa, Napier, Cameron McMaster

Tritoniopsis intermedia, syn. Anapalina intermedia, syn. Antholyza intermedia Baker, is found on rocky sandstone slopes in the southeastern Cape. It has tubular salmon to reddish flowers in a dense spike and flowers September to December.


Tritoniopsis lata grows on sandstone mountain slopes in the Southwest Cape and blooms February to May. It has deep pink flowers with dark markings in a lax spike. Photos by Cameron McMaster taken in May near Napier in the Overberg.

Tritoniopsis lata, Napier, Cameron McMasterTritoniopsis lata, Napier, Cameron McMaster

Tritoniopsis nemorosa , syn. Antholyza nemorosa, is found on rocky slopes in fynbos in the northwest Cape. It has veined sword shaped leaves and yellow flowers with brown markings. It blooms late spring to summer.


Tritoniopsis parviflora was once included in Antholyza under a number of species names. It grows on rocky sandstone slopes in the northwest and southwest Cape and in the Agulhas Plain. The sweetly spicy scented flowers are yellow with brown to maroon markings. This species flowers late spring into summer. The first three photos taken by Cameron McMaster near Napier in the Overberg in November. The last two were taken near Bainskloof by Andrew Harvie.

Tritoniopsis parviflora, Napier, Cameron McMasterTritoniopsis parviflora, Napier, Cameron McMasterTritoniopsis parviflora, Napier, Cameron McMasterTritoniopsis parviflora, Bainskloof, Andrew HarvieTritoniopsis parviflora, Bainskloof, Andrew Harvie

Tritoniopsis pulchella is found on sandstone slopes in the southwestern Cape. Growing to 30 cm, it has linerar to lanceolate veined leaves and deep pink flowers with dark markings in a lax spike. Photo taken near Bainskloof by Rachel Saunders.

Tritoniopsis pulchella, Bainskloof, Rachel Saunders

Tritoniopsis pulchra, syn. Anapalina pulchra, syn. Homoglossum pulchrum Schltr., syn. Antholyza pulchrum Baker, is found on rocky sandstone slopes in the southwest Cape and the Agulhas Plain. It has dark rose flowers in a dense spike and flowers February to June. Photos by Cameron McMaster taken in April in the Overberg near Napier.

Tritoniopsis pulchra, Napier, Cameron McMasterTritoniopsis pulchra, Napier, Cameron McMaster

Tritoniopsis ramosa, syn. Antholyza ramosa Eckl. ex Klatt, is found on sandstone slopes over a broad area. It has deep pink flowers with dark markings in a lax spike. It flowers summer into fall. Photo by Cameron McMaster taken in March near Napier in the Overberg.

Tritoniopsis ramosa, Napier, Cameron McMaster

Tritoniopsis revoluta, syn. Antholyza revoluta, is found on stony soils from coastal locations to 1000 m in winter rainfall areas of the Cape. Plants grow from 25 to 40 cm high and have veined sword-shaped leaves and pink flowers with dark pink streaks on the lower tepals. This species blooms in the fall.


Tritoniopsis triticea, syn. Anapalina triticea, syn. Homoglossum lucidor (L.f.) Baker, syn. Antholyza triticea, is found on rocky granite and sandstone slopes in the northwest and southwest Cape and in the Langeberg Center. Scarlet flowers are in a dense spike. It flowers summer into fall. Photo by Cameron McMaster taken in January near Napier in the Overberg.

Tritoniopsis triticea, Napier, Cameron McMaster

Tritoniopsis unguicularis grows on rocky sandstone slopes in the southwest Cape. It flowers December to March. Flowers are cream to yellow with faint mauve nectar guides in a dense spike. Photos by Cameron McMaster taken in November on Napier Mountain in the Overberg.

Tritoniopsis unguicularis, Napier Mountain, Cameron McMaster

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Page last modified on July 25, 2011, at 07:16 AM