1 2 TAXONOMIC TREATMENT

1 2  TAXONOMIC TREATMENT
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TAXONOMIC TREATMENT
New taxa, synonyms and insufficiently known species
Rcently published species
H. nivea Y. Singh
Species put into synonymy in the present study
H. arnottii Baker = H. rigidula Baker var. pilosissima
H. cordata Nel = H. rigidula Baker var. rigidula
H. distachya Nel = H. colchicifolia Baker
H. dinteri Nel = H. argentea Harv. ex Baker var. sericea Baker
H. ecklonii Baker = H. floccosa Baker
H. gilgiana Nel = H. colchicifolia Baker
H. iridifolia Baker = H. obtusa Burch. ex Ker Gawl.
H. junodii Baker = H. gerrardii Baker
H. lata Nel = H. angustifolia Lam. var. angustifolia
H. limicola B.L. Burtt = H. parvula Baker var. parvula
H. neliana Schinz = H. kraussiana Buchinger
H. obtusa Burch. ex Ker Gawl. var. chrysotricha Nel = H. obtusa Burch. ex Ker Gawl.
H. pretoriensis (manuscript name) = H. interjecta Nel
H. rigidula Baker var. hemerocallidea Fisch., C.A. Mey. & Avé-Lall. = H. rigidula Baker var.
rigidula
H. rooperi T. Moore var. forbesii Baker = H. hemerocallidea Fisch., C.A. Mey. & Avé-Lall.
H. villosa L.f. var. obliqua Jacq. = H. obliqua Jacq.
H. woodii Baker = H. angustifolia Lam. var. buchananii
H. zuluensis S.E. Wood quoad specim. Gerstner 4936, nom. illeg. = H. longifolia Baker ex Hook.f.
H. zululandensis S.E. Wood non. nud. = H. longifolia Baker ex Hook.f.
Species insufficiently known
H. beyrichii Nel
H. exaltata Nel
Taxonomic Treatment
195
H. jacquinii Baker
H. longipes Baker
H. mollis Baker
H. nigricans Conrath ex Baker
H. setosa Baker
H. sagittata Nel
H. uniflorata Markötter
Hypoxis L., Systema Naturae: 986 (1759); Baker: 98 (1878b); Salisbury: 712 (1883); Pax: 121
(1889); Baker in Thiselton-Dyer: 174 (1896); Baker: 377 (1898); Nel: 259 (1914); Hepper: 172
(1968); Geerinck: 72 (1969) & : 4 (1971); Nordal et al.: 15 (1985); Nordal & Iversen: 46 (1986);
Nordal & Iversen: 34 (1987); Champluvier: 81 (1987); Nordal in Kubitzki: 292 (1998); Nordal &
Zimudzi: 1 (2001); Wiland: 305 (2001); Wiland-Syzmańska & Nordal (2006). Type: H. hirsuta (L.)
Colville (syn.: H. erecta L.)
Herbs, small to robust, 50–700 mm high, near-glabrous to densely hairy, growing solitary or in tufts;
underground stem a perennial rhizome, vertical, sometimes producing short horizontal stolons ending
in rhizome-like structures, each bearing a shoot. Rhizome globose, oblong or turbinate, older basal
portion slowly withering away over time, crowned by leaves and a tunic formed by the remains of old
leaf bases, tunic either a ring of fibrous bristles (brush-like) or a papery sheath in delicate species,
white, yellow to deep orange inside; roots few to many, short, thick, contractile. Leaves winter (spring
in SW Cape species) deciduous, 5–20, outer few reduced to cataphylls, spreading outwards from base,
generally in three ranks or bases clasping to form a funnel- or column-like false stem (pseudostem),
base lighter in colour approaching white, hyaline in delicate species, occasionally purple or red;
coriaceous or membranous, sickle-shape (falcate) or erect, linear, lanceolate or filiform, folded
together along the length (conduplicate) towards the base, rarely subterete; V-shaped or flat in cross
section, gradually or rapidly tapering to a narrow point (acuminate); veins of even or uneven
thickness, flush with or raised on upper surface; pilose, floccose, tomentose, sericeous or ciliate, hairs
appearing more dense in young leaves, bifurcate (2 arms), stellate (3–8 arms), rarely simple (one-arm)
or a combination, filiform or needle-shaped, ascending in a V- or U-shape, or appressed, white,
yellow or brown. Inflorescence 1–8 per plant, axillary, produced with emergence of leaves, only at
start of, or sequentially in growing season, racemose or corymbose, rarely spicate, near-glabrous or
sparsely to densely hairy; indumentum white, yellow, or red-brown; scapes overtopping, as tall as or
slightly shorter than leaves, flattened in cross section (ancipitous), rarely terete, covered in hairs
apically. Bract one per flower, unless flower aborted then two, subulate, setaceous, hairy abaxially.
Taxonomic Treatment
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Flowers 2–17, rarely solitary, short-lived, bisexual, actinomorphic, star-like, yellow, rarely white;
pedicels shorter or longer than flowers, sometimes reduced, green, sometimes red, slightly longer in
fruit. Tepals 3+3, rarely 4 in two whorls of 2, free, persistent; outer tepals, elliptic, green-yellow (or
green-white) and hairy abaxially; inner tepals elliptic or ovate-elliptic, yellow (or white), green and
sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially, midribs occasionally red. Stamens 3+3, rarely 4 in two whorls,
exserted, filaments inserted at base of tepals, subulate or filiform, outer whorl slightly longer (by 
0.5 mm) than the inner whorl; anthers sagittate, thecae 2, versatile, opening by longitudinal slits,
latrorse; pollen grains yellow, ellipsoid, monosulcate. Ovary inferior, turbinate or subglobose, 3locular; style subulate or filiform, sometimes reduced or absent; stigma 3-lobed, spherical or
pyramidal, with 3 concave faces, ovules numerous, biseriate in each locule, placentation axile. Fruit a
capsule, turbinate or oblong, opening by a circular split around the middle (circumscissile
dehiscence), in a few species followed by splitting into 3-segments (longitudinal dehiscence). Seeds
few to many, globose to ovoid, black rarely brown, glossy or dull; testa smooth or papillate.
Chromosome number: 2n = 14.
Species ± 85, in the warmer parts of all continents, except Europe, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, 28
in the Flora of southern Africa region (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho),
with 70% endemic to the region and three taxa having white flowers, deviating from the usual yellow
for the genus. The range of seven taxa, H. angustifolia var. angustifolia, H. argentea var. argentea,
H. filiformis, H. galpinii, H. hemerocallidea, H. longifolia, H. obtusa, H. parvifolia, H. rigidula var.
rigidula, extends from southern Africa to tropical Africa. H. angustifolia is the most widespread
species in Africa with a distribution also in West Africa. With the start of the growing season
(September), plants of Hypoxis develop new shoots, usually stimulated by fire and are more
noticeable when the grass is short. Plants show variation in leaf length over growing season;
specimens collected later in the season, January to May have elongated leaves in comparison to those
collected early, in October to December. Hypoxis has potential use in medicine. Rhizomes of the
larger species are a rich source of hypoxoside (Drewes et al. 1984; Bayley & Van Staden 1990) which
in its active form, rooperol has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells (Drewes & Khan
2004). Such species are also used in traditional and alternative medicines in South Africa where their
popularity is driving unsustainable harvesting of rhizomes in the wild. Exploitation of target and
related species of the genus has expedited the need for correct species identification and more data on
the morphology, ecology and distribution of species.
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197
KEY TO SPECIES
Note— Plant height excludes inflorescence length, and leaf width is measured midway between base and apex.
Vein and hair characters are described from a stereomicroscope at 10–40 x magnifications. To avoid ambiguity,
descriptive terms are used with botanical equivalents in brackets.
In species with a robust habit and many flowers per inflorescence, the first few inflorescences in young plants
may bear only 2 flowers, the flowers being opposite and this causes difficulty on classifying it as racemose or
corymbose. For such specimens, a combination of habit, leaf dimensions, leaf hair distribution, length of pedicel
and, type and length of tepal should be applied.
1a Plants medium to large in size, more than 150 mm tall (if shorter, then leaves lanceolate and more than 12
mm wide); flowers firm, yellow, large, tepals of lowermost flowers 12–20 mm long:
2a
Plants taller than wide; leaves tightly clasping at base to form a false stem:
3a False stem widening into the shape of a funnel; leaves erect, converging apically
(connivent), lanceolate, 25–110 mm wide:
4a Leaves broadly lanceolate, 3–6 times longer than wide; veins of uniform thickness, raised on
upper surface (ribbed); leaf blade glabrous or with a few hairs scattered near the base and on
margins; inflorescence near-glabrous with few scattered hairs; specimens drying
straw-coloured or light brown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1. H. colchicifolia
4b Leaves narrowly lanceolate, 8–20 times longer than wide; veins of uneven thickness, 2(–4)
near each margin raised on upper surface; leaf blade sparsely hairy, margins and midrib
fringed with hairs (ciliate); inflorescence densely hairy; specimens drying red-brown
or dark brown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. H. galpinii
3b False stem upright in the form of a column; leaves spreading or recurving apically, linear or
filiform, 3–20 mm wide:
5a Leaves firm but not rigid, erect, spirally twisting towards apex, with an even distribution of
long, weak hairs (pilose) on both surfaces, margin and midrib on lower surface; hairs
bifurcate; flowers 2 (occasionally 4–6) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. H. acuminata
5b Leaves rigid, erect or recurving above the middle, ± straight towards apex, near-glabrous
or sparsely to densely hairy on one or both surfaces, margins and midrib on lower surface
fringed with hairs (ciliate); hairs bifurcate or stellate; flowers 4–11 (2 or 3 in first few
inflorescences):
6a Leaves ribbed near margins only; veins of uneven thickness with 3–5 near each margin
raised on upper surface; leaf blade sparsely to densely hairy . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. H. rigidula
6b Leaves strongly ribbed; veins of uniform thickness, raised on upper surface; leaf blade
near-glabrous, margins and midrib on lower surface outlined in white by a thickened
band of squat hairs
7a Leaves filiform, 3–4 mm wide, subterete, rarely flat; veins 4–6 . . . . 5. H. longifolia
7b Leaves strap-like, 10–15 mm wide, V-shaped or flat; veins 10–16. . . . 6. H. ludwigii
2b Plants as wide as tall; leaves spreading upwards and outwards from base (false stem absent):
8a Plants in flower small, 50–120 mm tall; leaves few (usually less than 7), overlapping in helical
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198
arrangement to give a rosette-like appearance, flat, broadly ovate; inflorescences produced at start
of growing season; flowers 2 (occasionally 3–5):
9a Leaves glabrous, margin rarely with a few scattered hairs; inflorescence with 2 flowers
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10. H. interjecta
9b Leaves hairy (pilose or scabrous), inflorescence with 2–5 flowers:
10a
Leaves covered with long, weak hairs (pilose) mostly along margins and midrib
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11. H. costata
10b
Leaves covered with short stiff hairs (scabrous) throughout . . . . . . . . . . 12. H. multiceps
8b Plants in flower large, 150–300 mm tall; leaves many (usually more than 7), arranged one above
the other in three ranks, folded together along the length (conduplicate), sickle-shape (falcate);
inflorescences produced sequentially throughout growing season; flowers 4–12 (2 in first
few inflorescences):
11a Leaves near-glabrous or with even distribution of bifurcate hairs; pedicels firm, erect,
lowermost 5–25 mm long:
12a Leaves firm but not rigid, remaining straight with age, non waxy; veins flush with upper
surface, with an even distribution of long, weak hairs (pilose); hairs bifurcate
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7. H. hemerocallidea
12b Leaves rigid, spirally twisting towards apex with age, waxy (glaucous); veins raised on
upper surface (ribbed), near-glabrous, margin and midrib outlined in white by a thickened
band of squat hairs (ciliate); hairs stellate (3–6 arms) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8. H. obtusa
11b Leaves with white-velvety hair layer on lower surface or with an even distribution of stellate
hairs in tufts; pedicels soft, flexible, lowermost 20–35 mm long:
13a Leaves dark green, glabrous on upper surface, lower surface with a distinct white-velvety
layer formed by dense appressed interwoven hairs (tomentose); restricted to area between
Uniondale (Western Cape) and Grahamstown (Eastern Cape) . . . . . . . . . . . 9. H. stellipilis
13b Leaves dull green, sparsely or densely covered with an even distribution of white or
brown, ascending hairs in tufts (floccose); widespread along the coasts of Western Cape
(from Mossel Bay) and Eastern Cape and reaching KwaZulu-Natal . . . . . 13. H. sobolifera
1b Plants small in size, less than 150 mm high (if taller then leaves linear, less than 12 mm wide); flowers
delicate, yellow or white, small, tepals of lowermost flowers 4–10 mm long:
14a Leaves membranous in texture, drying papery (if leaves are thicker then inflorescence with one
flower only),sparsely covered with long, weak hairs (pilose):
15a Leaves linear-triangular (subulate), arranged loosely in three ranks, V-shaped in cross section
(fresh material):
16a Flowers white, stigma spherical . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25. H. nivea
16b Flowers yellow; stigma pyramidal (rarely approaching spherical) . . . . . . 26. H. angustifolia
15b Leaves lanceolate, radiating irregularly from rhizome, flat in cross section:
17a Leaves 80–150 x 8–25 mm, upper surface of leaf with pustules appearing as dots;
inflorescence usually with 2 or 3 flowers, (if single-flowered, then other scapes on plant
Taxonomic Treatment
199
with 2 or 3 flowers); flowers white . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27. H. membranacea
17b Leaves 15–70(–90) x 5–10 mm, upper surface without pustules; inflorescence usually
with a single flower, rarely 2; flowers yellow or white . . . . 28. H. parvula
14b Leaves thick (not membranous) in texture, sparsely or densely covered with hairs of different
types:
18a Leaves lanceolate, 7–25 mm wide:
19a Leaves 7–10 mm wide, usually erect, with an even distribution of bifurcate hairs
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17. H. gerrardii
19b Leaves 10–25 mm wide, obliquely twisting or recurving, near-glabrous or sparsely to
densely covered with stellate hairs:
20a Leaves near-glabrous, margins sparsely to densely hairy; hairs short, stiff, appressed:
21a Leaves erect, obliquely twisting towards apex; margins fringed with squat hairs
(ciliate); persistent; pedicels firm, lowermost 5–20 mm long when flowers open
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15. H. obliqua
21b Leaves falcate, ± straight towards apex; margins with sparse hairs; falling off
(caducous); pedicels flexible, lowermost 25–50 mm long when flowers open
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16. H. zeyheri
20b Leaves covered with hairs throughout, dense on margins; hairs long, weak,
appressed or ascending (villose or floccose):
22a Leaves 75–150 mm long, margins undulate; hairs silky white, as strands stacked
one above the other in two rows opposite each other and parallel along the length
of the leaf, not clearly separated, appressed (villose) . . . . . . . . . . . . 14. H. villosa
22b Leaves 100–300 mm long, margins straight, hairs white or brown (not silky), in
tufts, separated, ascending (floccose) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13. H. sobolifera
18b Leaves linear (if linear-lanceolate, then plants up to 60 mm tall), 2–10 mm wide:
23a Leaves strongly ribbed, with veins close to each other, uniformly thickened and raised
on upper surface; scapes wiry, subterete (round in cross-section):
24a Leaves sparse to densely hairy; hairs bifurcate, stellate (4–6 arms) on margins, squat,
patent, U-shaped and curling into rings; filaments subulate . . . . . . . . . 22. H. kraussiana
24b Leaves sparsely hairy; hairs bifurcate, long, weak (thread-like), ascending, V-shaped
and straight; filaments filiform:
25a Flowers 6-merous, very rarely 4-merous; scape erect in fruit, widespread in southern
Africa from Eastern Cape to Limpopo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23. H. filiformis
25b Flowers 4-merous; scape decumbent in fruit, restricted to the Drakensberg range in
KwaZulu-Natal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24. H. tetramera
23b Leaves not ribbed, with veins of uneven thickness, one to two near each margin thickened
and raised on upper surface; scapes weak, ancipitous (flattened in cross section):
26a Plants 70–120 mm tall; scapes as tall as or shorter than leaves; flowers 2–5(–7):
27a Plants dark-green; leaves rigid, 4–10 mm wide; hairs bifurcate, ascending in V- or
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200
U-shape, white or brown; inflorescence furry, brown . . . . . . . . . 17. H. gerrardii
27b Plants silvery; leaves firm but not rigid, 2–5 mm wide; hairs bifurcate or stellate,
appressed as strands parallel to length of leaf (sericeous), silky-white; inflorescence
silky-white . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18. H. argentea
26b Plants 30–60 mm tall; scapes overtopping leaves; flowers 1 or 2:
28a Leaves 4–8 mm wide, covered in bifurcate, stiffly U-shaped hairs; inflorescences
firm, pedicels 5–15 mm long; found in the interior of southern Africa (Swaziland,
Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Free State . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19. H. parvifolia
28b Leaves 2–4 mm wide; covered in bifurcate hairs, lying parallel to length of leaf or
with stellate hairs in tufts; inflorescences lax, pedicels 12–25 mm long, found along
the coasts of Western Cape and Eastern Cape:
29a Leaf hairs mostly bifurcate, appearing in a V shape, ascending, white
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20. H. flanaganii
29b Leaf hairs stellate, in tufts, ascending (floccose), red-brown (rufous)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21. H. floccosa
Key to varieties of Hypoxis rigidula
1a Plants glaucous green, usually drying dark brown; leaf blade hairs sparse, confined mostly to
channels between veins, bifurcate or stellate, long, weak and ascending or needle-shaped and
appressed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . var. rigidula
1b Plants grey-white, retaining colour on drying; leaf blade hairs dense giving leaves a furry texture (floccose),
evenly spread throughout; stellate, tufted, long, weak and ascending
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . var. pilosissima
Key to varieties of Hypoxis sobolifera
1a Hairs sparsely scattered throughout leaf, in distinct tufts, drying white or light brown . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . var. sobolifera
1b Hairs dense, giving leaves a soft furry texture, tufts obscured, drying red-brown (rufous) . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . var. pannosa
Key to varieties of Hypoxis angustifolia
1a Plants solitary, usually less than 120 mm tall; leaves 3–4 mm wide; 2 veins near each margin
raised on upper surface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . var. angustifolia
1b Plants in tufts, usually more than 120 mm tall; leaves 8–18 mm wide; 4 veins near each margin
prominent on upper surface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . var. buchananii
Key to varieties of Hypoxis parvula
1a Flowers yellow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . var. parvula
1b Flowers white . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . var. albiflora
Taxonomic Treatment
201
Key to varieties of Hypoxis argentea
1a Hairs mostly stellate, dense in channels between veins, forming a silky-white layer on lower
surface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
var. argentea
1b Hairs mostly bifurcate, scattered in channels between veins, with an even distribution on both
surfaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . var. sericea
1. Hypoxis colchicifolia Baker, Journal of Botany: 3 (1889); Baker in ThiseltonDyer: 186 (1896); Burtt: 201 (1986); Singh: 362 (2007). Type: South Africa, Cape, without precise
locality, hort. Bull s.n. Nov. 1884 (K, holo!).
H. latifolia Hook.: t.4817 (1854) nom. illegit.; Baker: 115 (1878b); Baker in Thiselton-Dyer: 185 (1896)—
non H. latifolia Wight (1853). Type: South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Adlam s.n. June 1857 (K, holo!).
H. oligotricha Baker: 3 (1889); Baker in Thiselton-Dyer: 187 (1896); Nel: 321 (1914). Type: South Africa,
KwaZulu-Natal, Clairmont, Wood 1170 (K, holo!, BM!, NH!).
H. distachya Nel: 322 (1914). Type: South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Pinetown, Thode s.n. August 1893 (B,
holo!).
H. gilgiana Nel: 322 (1914). Type: South Africa, without precise locality, Ecklon? 4529 (B, holo!).
Tall, robust herb, 250–500 mm high, growing singly, near-glabrous. Rhizome globose or oblong,
40–70 mm in diameter or 1.5 times longer than wide, with many contractile roots, crowned by leaves
and a dense mass of fibrous bristles from remains of old leaves, light yellow to orange inside, with
faint incense-like smell. False stem cylindrical, thick, 50–75 x 15–30 mm. Leaves few, 4–8, clasping
at base to form a false stem, opening into funnel above, converging apically (connivent), broadly
lanceolate, (100–)200–600 x 30–85(–110) mm, erect, flat, coriaceous; veins ± 18–40, evenly spaced,
almost all thickened and raised on upper surface (ribbed), approaching white at base, sometimes
purple or red, usually glabrous; hairs if present, scattered on margins, veins and channels in between
veins, bifurcate, needle-shaped, appressed. Inflorescence 1–4 per plant, appearing with leaves and
produced sequentially, racemose, with few scant white hairs; scapes shorter than leaves, 150–300 mm
x 2–3 mm, flattened in cross section (ancipitous). Bract subulate, basal two stronger, 16–30 x 1.5–2
mm. Flowers (5–)8–17, basal two opposite, 1 to 3 upper tiers with 3 flowers each; pedicels varying
slightly in length from base to apex of raceme, 7–15 mm long when flowers open. Tepals 3+3, yellow
adaxially; outer tepals broadly elliptic, 13–19 x 3–5 mm, pale green with short stiff hairs abaxially;
inner tepals ovate-elliptic, 11–15 x 4–5 mm, yellow, green and sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially.
Taxonomic Treatment
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Stamens 3+3, with filaments subulate, 3–4 mm long; anthers 4–6 mm long, sagittate, apex entire or
slightly split. Ovary 4–6 mm long, style ± 1 mm long, stigma 2–5 mm long, pyramidal with 3 concave
faces. Capsule turbinate or subglobose, 6–8 mm x 4–7 mm, opening by a circular slit. Seeds ovoid,
1.5–2 x 1–1.8 mm, black, glossy or dull; testa papillate. Flowering time: September–February. Figure
12.6.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. colchicifolia is the taxon with the most robust habit
among the southern African species. It is easily distinguished by its large, broadly lanceolate leaves
that clasp at the base to form a thick false stem (pseudostem) which widens upwards in the shape of a
funnel. Further, the leaves are glabrous and ribbed on the upper surface. The species is likely to be
confused with H. galpinii in having lanceolate leaves and racemose inflorescences, but it lacks hairy
leaf margins and densely hairy inflorescences, which is characteristic of H. galpinii.
Two specimens, Burtt-Davy 13457 (in PRE) and Reid 53 (in PRE), both collected in Northern
KwaZulu-Natal deviate from the typical glabrous leaves in the species. These specimens have
bifurcate hairs on leaves similar to those in H. galpinii and H. rigidula var. rigidula. Although rare,
this state is recognised as the extreme limit for hairiness in the species, seeing that in habit, leaf shape
and ribbing, the specimens closely match H. colchicifolia.
Distribution and ecology: H. colchicifolia is a South African endemic with a coastal and inland
distribution. It occurs in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Free State, from Mkambati in the
south and is concentrated towards the uplands in KwaZulu-Natal (Figure 12.34F). The species forms
strong stands in protected grasslands. H. colchicifolia grows sympatrically with H. obtusa and H.
rigidula and like these species, prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It is recorded at altitudes from
30 to 2100 m above sea level. Although large populations of plants are encountered in the field, the
species is not frequently collected for herbarium records. There is a record of a specimen (Moss
13679 in J) collected outside the range for the species. It was noted as collected in Milner Park,
Johannesburg, Gauteng in November 1926. In December of the same year, Moss collected H. galpinii
at the same locality (Moss 14026 in J). Heideman (1979) was unsuccessful in finding the plant on the
Witwatersrand. As suggested by Burtt (1986), there may have been a mistake in the labelling of the
specimen. This outlier record has not been included in mapping of the distribution of the species in
this study.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Near Threatened (LRnt).
Taxonomic Treatment
203
Etymology: the name colchicifolia describes the species as having leaves like those of the European
genus, Colchicum.
Common names: broad-leaved hypoxis, igudu, ilabatheka, ingcobo, inkomfe (Zulu).
Uses: H. colchicifolia is used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments including bad dreams,
barrenness, impotence and hysterical fits (Watt & Breyer-Brandwijk 1962). In her inventory of Zulu
medicinal plants, Hutchings (1996) discussed the several uses of the species in Zulu healing practices,
and as such the species is in great demand. It is, for example, available at the Warwick Avenue Muthi
Market in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal as ilabatheka (Zulu), together with the more popular medicinal
species, H. hemerocallidea, which is sold as inkomfe (Zulu).
Notes: Wight (1851) published an illustration of a new species that he called Hypoxis latifolia,
unfortunately without a description. In 1854, the name was used by Hooker for a South African plant
and with a proper description. Wight’s plant turned out to be Curculigo finlaysoniana Wall. from
India and this makes H. latifolia Hook. a later homonym. H. colchicifolia was described by Baker in
1889 and since there are no difficulties with the species, its name is in use as suggested by Burtt
(1986). H. oligotricha was recognised by Baker (1889) as being different to H. colchicifolia in having
longer leaves, more flowers, shorter pedicels and a less hairy inflorescence. This study, however,
confirms that the claimed differences fall within the range of H. colchicifolia.
Vouchers: Abbott 6383 (NH); Burtt-Davy 13457 (PRE); Herbst s.n. NBG18441 (NBG); Nicholson 797 (PRE);
Singh 802 (NH).
2. Hypoxis galpinii Baker, in Thiselton-Dyer, Flora Capensis: 188 (1896) as ‘galpini’; Nel: 320
(1914); Compton: 130 (1976); Zimudzi: 16 (1996); Nordal & Zimudzi: 11 (2001). Type: South
Africa, Mpumalanga, Barberton, Saddleback Range, Umlomati Valley, Galpin, 1098 (K, holo!; PRE!;
NBG!).
H. stricta Nel: 320 (1914). Type: South Africa, Pondoland, Buchanan 338 (B, holo!).
Tall, robust herb, 250–400 mm high, growing singly, occasionally in tufts of 2 to 10 plants. Rhizome
globose or oblong, 20–60 mm in diameter or  1½ times longer than wide, with many contractile
roots, crowned by leaves and a dense mass of fibrous bristles from remains of old leaves, sometimes
proliferating by means of short stolons, light yellow to orange inside. False stem cylindrical, 50–120
Taxonomic Treatment
204
x 12–20 mm. Leaves few, 4–7, clasping at base to form a false stem, opening into funnel, converging
apically (connivent) lanceolate to narrowly-lanceolate, 150–470 x 13–40 mm, erect, flat, coriaceous;
veins 20–40, flush with surface, 2–4 near each margin thickened and raised on upper surface,
approaching white at base; hairs sparse, mainly on lower surface, along margins and midrib,
predominantly stellate (5–8 arms) with bifurcate hairs intermingled, bifurcate hairs 1–1.5 mm long,
stellate hairs with 1 or 2 arms more strongly developed, shorter arms needle-shaped, ± 0.3 mm long,
longer arms 3–3.5 mm long, appressed, white or brown. Inflorescence 2–7 per plant, appearing with
leaves and produced sequentially, racemose, covered in white hairs; scape as tall as leaves or taller
than leaves, 120–280 mm x 2–3 mm, flattened in cross section (ancipitous). Bract subulate, basal two
stronger, 12–25 x 1–3 mm. Flowers (5–)8–11 per inflorescence, basal two opposite, 1 to 3 upper tiers
with 3 flowers each; pedicels varying slightly in length from base to apex of raceme, 2–12 mm long
when flowers open. Tepals 3+3, yellow adaxially; outer tepals broadly elliptic, 10–16 x 3–5 mm,
green and hairy abaxially; inner tepals ovate-elliptic, 10–16 x 5–7 mm, yellow, green and sparsely
hairy along midrib abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments subulate, 2–3 mm long; anthers 4–5 mm
long, sagittate, apex entire or slightly split. Ovary 3–4 mm long; style 2–3 mm long; stigma pyramidal
with 3 concave faces, 2–3 mm long. Capsule turbinate, 6–10 mm x 4–6 mm, opening by a circular
slit. Seeds ovoid, 1.2–1.8 x 1–1.6 mm, black, glossy; testa papillate. Flowering time: September–
December. Figure 12.11.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. galpinii is recognised by its long, lanceolate leaves that
clasp at the base to form a false stem, widening above into the shape of a funnel and its near-glabrous
leaves, similar to the arrangement in H. colchicifolia. It differs from H. colchicifolia in having veins
flush with the leaf surface, with only two to four near each margin thickened and raised on the upper
surface, and densely hairy inflorescences. In H. colchicifolia, the upper surface of the leaf is ribbed
due to almost all veins being thickened and raised, and the inflorescences are sparsely hairy.
H. galpinii could also be confused with plants of H. rigidula var. rigidula when leaves of the latter
species are still developing or are wider, approaching linear-lanceolate. In H. galpinii, leaves are
broader and folded into a thick (more than 13 mm wide), short false stem while in H. rigidula, leaves
are strap-like and wrap in a narrow (usually about 10 mm wide), slender false stem.
Distribution and ecology: H. galpinii occurs in the eastern region of southern Africa with an inland
distribution. It occurs in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Lesotho and Swaziland
(Figure 12.34K). The species extends into tropical Africa, occurring in Zimbabwe and Tanzania.
H. galpinii grows in open rocky grasslands, in full sun and at altitudes of 900 to 2300 m above sea
level. It is found growing sympatrically with many species, including H. argentea, H. costata,
Taxonomic Treatment
205
H. multiceps, H. gerrardii and H. obtusa.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: named after Ernest Galpin [1858–1941], a banker, who started out as an amateur
botanist and developed in taxonomy through leisure learning and encouragement from influential
persons like George Elliot, William Tyson and N.E. Brown (Gunn & Codd 1981).
Uses: no known uses recorded in literature. As the species is similar to H. colchicifolia and the latter
is frequently used in Zulu traditional medicine, it is very likely that H. galpinii is also collected in the
wild as ilabetheka (Zulu). It could become a target species for use in herbal remedies should
populations of the more popular species, H. hemerocallidea and H. colchicifolia start to decline.
Vouchers: Compton 30881 (NBG, NH, PRE); Gibbs-Russel 3482 (GRA); Gilliland s.n. J26911(J, PRE);
Ngwenya 1504 (NH); Thode 2544 (NH).
3. Hypoxis rigidula Baker, Journal of the Linnean Society, Botany 17: 116 (1878b) & in ThiseltonDyer: 186 (1896); Nel: 331 (1914); Eyles: 328 (1916) pro parte quoad saltem specm. Eyles 455;
Norlindh & Weimarck: 166 (1937); Compton: 130 (1976); Zimudzi: 16 (1996) pro parte; Retief &
Herman: 69 (1997); Nordal & Zimudzi: 12 (2001); Singh: 364 (2007). Type: South Africa, Free State,
Cooper 883 (K, lecto!).
Tall slender herb, mostly 600–700 mm high, growing singly, occasionally in tufts forming clumps.
Rhizome oblong-globose, 40–90 x 30–50 mm or 1.25–2 times longer than wide, with many contractile
roots, crowned by leaves and a mass of fibrous bristles from remains of old leaves, sometimes
proliferating by means of short stolons, light yellow to orange inside. False stem cylindrical, slender,
(65–)400–700 x (6–)8–13 mm. Leaves few to many, 4–12, clasping at base to form false stem, usually
recurving apically, rigid, whip- or strap-like, linear, 320–800 x (4–)7–20 mm, tapering gradually from
base to apex; veins flush with surface, two to five near each margin thickened and raised on upper
surface; hairs sparse to dense, mainly along margins and midrib (ciliate) or forming a furry covering,
bifurcate or stellate (3–8 arms, tufted), one arm more strongly developed, ascending or appressed,
shorter arms needle-shaped, white. Inflorescence 2–5 per plant, appearing with leaves and produced
sequentially, racemose or spicate, covered in white hairs; scapes as tall as or shorter than leaves, 150–
300 mm x 2–3 mm, flattened in cross section (ancipitous). Bract subulate, 7–20 x 1–2 mm. Flowers
3–9 (2 in the first produced inflorescences of the new season’s growth); pedicels subsessile or short,
Taxonomic Treatment
206
8–16 x 1–1.5 mm when flowers open. Tepals 3+3, yellow adaxially; outer tepals broadly elliptic, 10–
20 x 3–4 mm, green and hairy abaxially; inner tepals ovate-elliptic, 8–16 x 4–6 mm, yellow, green
and sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments subulate, 1.5–2 mm long;
anthers 4–7.5 mm long, sagittate, apex entire. Ovary 4–5 mm long, style 1–1.5 mm long; stigma
pyramidal with 3 concave faces, 2.5–3.5 mm long. Capsule turbinate or ellipsoidal, 5–8 x 3–5 mm,
opening by a circular slit. Seeds globose to ovoid, 1.3–2 x 1.2–1.8 mm, black, glossy; testa papillate.
Flowering time: September–March.
3a. var. rigidula
H. cordata Nel: 331 (1914). Type: South Africa, Limpopo, Bergwiesen, Shiluvane, Junod 1445 (Z!).
H. elliptica Nel: 332 (1914). Syntypes: South Africa, Eastern Cape Province, Alexandra, Rudatis 688 (K!);
South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, Schlechter 3303 (B!); South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, between
Pietermaritzburg and Greytown, Wilms 2317 (K!); South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Fields Hill near Pinetown,
Wood 734 (B!).
H. longifolia Baker: 176 (1904). Type: South Africa, Limpopo, Berglehnen um Shiluvane, Junod 1445 (Z!).
H. oblonga Nel: 332 (1914). Type: South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Weenen District, Wood 4372 (K!, B!, NH!).
H. volkmanniae Dinter: 257 (1931). Type: Namibia, Hereroland, Dinter 5601 (PRE!).
H. rigidula var. hemerocallidea (Fisch. & C.A. Meyer) Heideman: 892 (1983), nom. nud. Type: South Africa,
Kalahari Region, Basutoland Cooper 3242 (K!).
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. rigidula is a distinct species, plants being the tallest in
the genus, with a rigid, elongated column-like false stem and strap-like leaves, recurving above the
middle. H. rigidula var. rigidula is variable in leaf length, width and hairiness. The newly formed
leaves are erect and densely hairy in comparison to mature leaves. Its closest allied species is H.
acuminata. In the growing season, newly formed leaves of H. rigidula var. rigidula closely resemble
those of H. acuminata and are likely to be confused with this species. However, the softer appearance
of leaves and ascending long, bifurcate leaf hairs and usually two- flowered inflorescences in H.
acuminata separates it from H. rigidula. In H. rigidula var. rigidula, leaves are rigid, erect and
needle-shaped when young and inflorescences mostly more than four-flowered. Specimens of H.
rigidula var. rigidula with broader leaves approach the range of H. galpinii but differ in their
Taxonomic Treatment
207
elongate, narrow false stem and leaves recurving above the middle, while those in H. galpinii form a
thick false stem and converge apically. Figure 12.27.
Distribution and ecology: H. rigidula var. rigidula is found in Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland
and Lesotho. It is widespread in South Africa, occurring in all provinces except the Western Cape and
Northern Cape (Figure 12.34AA). It is concentrated in the eastern region of the country with a coastal
and inland distribution. The species also extends into tropical Africa, occurring in Zimbabwe,
Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania. H. rigidula is frequent in open grasslands and easily spotted
because of its tall, lanky habit and ‘strap-like’ leaves. The species grows in open, well-drained areas,
rocky slopes and on the edges of shrubland, wetlands and stream banks. The typical variety is more
abundant forming pure populations although it grows sympatrically with many other taxa including
H. colchicifolia, H. galpinii, H. hemerocallidea, H. obtusa, H. multiceps, H. acuminata and H.
rigidula var. pilosissima.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: named from the Latin rigidulus (somewhat rigid) referring to its stiff leaves.
Common names: Kaffertulp, silver-leaved star-flower, moli-teane (Sesotho); inkomfe (Zulu).
Uses: the rigid leaves of the species are suitable for rope making and are used with H. obtusa in
rural areas in the midlands of KwaZulu-Natal to make twine for cross threading thatch roofing of
huts.
Vouchers: Compton 32393 (NBG, PRE); Dold 1365 (GRA); Dieterlen 223 (NBG, PRE); Dinter 5601 (PRE,
SAM); Singh 460, 463 (NH).
3b. var. pilosissima Baker, Journal of the Linnean Society, Botany: 117 (1878b); Baker: 186
(1896); Nel: 331 (1914); Singh 364 (2007): Type: South Africa, Gauteng, Magalies Berg
[Magliesberg], Burke 156 (K, lecto!).
H. arnottii Baker: 552 (1877); Baker: 112 (1878b); Baker in Thiselton-Dyer: 132 (1896). Type: South Africa,
Eastern Cape, Colesberg, Arnott s.n. (not yet traced, seemingly not at K), June 1870, Hort. Kew.
Diagnosis: H. rigidula var. pilosissima is distinct in its slender, tall, soft, grey-white appearance and
is not likely to be confused with any other species in the genus. It is distinguished from the typical
variety by density and type of leaf hairs. Hairs in the typical variety are sparse, scattered mainly on
Taxonomic Treatment
208
the lower surface in channels between veins, bifurcate, long and ascending or stellate, short and
appressed. In H. rigidula var. pilosissima, hairs are dense on both surfaces, stellate, long and
ascending giving leaves a soft, furry, grey-white appearance. Figure 12.26.
Distribution and ecology: H. rigidula var. pilosissima has a similar distribution to that of var.
rigidula, being present in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. It occurs in all provinces in South
Africa, except the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Free State (Figure 12.34Z). The variety does not
occur in tropical Africa. H. rigidula var. pilosissima is often found growing in the vicinity of
H. rigidula var. rigidula, but its occurrence is less frequent in comparison to the typical variety. The
difference in density of hairs on leaves between the two varieties is often not obvious to field
collectors and both varieties are sometimes presented in the same gathering.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: Named from the Latin pilosus meaning hairy in reference to the felt-like hairs in this
taxon.
Common names: Kaffertulp, silver-leaved star-flower, moli-teane (Sesotho); inkomfe (Zulu)
Vouchers: Abbott 6121 (NH, PRU, Umtamvuna); Compton 28102 (NH, NBG); Singh 326 (NH); Thode 2534
(PRE); Van Wyk 1749 (PRE).
4. Hypoxis acuminata Baker, Journal of Botany: 3 (1889); Baker in Thiselton-Dyer: 186 (1896);
Compton: 129 (1976). Type: South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Inanda, Wood 1347 (NH, holo!; K!).
Tall, slender, sparsely hairy herb, 200 mm high, growing singly or in tufts of 3–40 shoots forming
large clumps. Rhizome subglobose or oblong, 15–25 mm in diameter, with many contractile roots
arising above middle; crowned by leaves and a dense mass of fibrous bristles from remains of old
leaves, sometimes proliferating by short stolons, white to pale yellow inside. False stem cylindrical,
slender, 30–100 x 5–10 mm. Leaves few, 4–8, erect or semi-erect, spirally twisting, linear, 130–380 x
4–7 mm, V-shaped in cross section; veins 6–12, flush with surface, two to four near each margin
thickened and raised on the upper surface; hairs predominantly bifurcate with few stellate
intermingled, mainly on lower surface and along veins and margins, V- or U-shaped. Inflorescence 1–
4 per plant, appearing with leaves and produced sequentially, racemose, covered sparsely in white,
long hairs; scape shorter than leaves, 200–300 mm x 1.5–2 mm, flattened in cross section
Taxonomic Treatment
209
(ancipitous). Flowers 2(–5), basal two opposite, upper tier with 1–3 flowers; pedicels 4–12 mm long
when flowers open. Bract subulate, 10–20 x 1–2 mm. Tepals 3+3, yellow adaxially; outer tepals
broadly elliptic, 11–20 x 3–7 mm, green and hairy abaxially; inner tepals ovate-elliptic, 9–15 x 2–5
mm, yellow, green and sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments linear, 1–
1.5 mm long; anthers 2–6 mm long, sagittate, apex split. Ovary 3–4 mm long; style 1–2 mm long;
stigma pyramidal with 3 concave faces, 2–3 mm long. Capsule turbinate, 5–8 x 4–6 mm, opening by a
circular slit. Seeds globose to ovoid, 1.8–2.1 x 1.6–1.8 mm, black, glossy; testa papillate. Flowering
time: September–December. Figure 12.1.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. acuminata is recognised by its grass-green, slender
habit, few leaves arising from a narrow short false stem and acuminate apices. Its racemes are mostly
two-flowered. The species is most closely related to H. rigidula var. rigidula, but differs in having
shorter, firm but not rigid leaves, fewer flowers per raceme and sparsely hairy inflorescences. Further,
its even distribution of bifurcate, weak, long V- or U-shaped, ascending hairs on leaves can be
separated from the predominantly stellate, short, needle-shaped, appressed hairs in H. rigidula var.
rigidula.
Distribution and ecology: H. acuminata occurs in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland and displays
a coastal and inland distribution. It occurs in all provinces of South Africa, except the Western Cape,
Northern Cape and North West (Figure 12.34A). It is possibly more abundant in the Eastern Cape,
Free State and Lesotho, but these areas lack herbarium records. The species grows in open grasslands
in damp areas, sometimes associated with forest margins, stream banks and roadside depressions, in
full sun or partial shade. It is concentrated away from the coast, at higher altitudes of 500 to 2000 m
above sea level. H. acuminata grows sympatrically with H. argentea, H. filiformis, H. galpinii and H.
rigidula. The typical form of H. acuminata is a slender plant with a false stem, but a form lacking a
false stem and with shorter leaves was recorded. The latter form is less common and associated with
dry ground, usually just after a burn and before the spring rains. Except for the false stem, both forms
are similar in leaf shape, hairs and inflorescences, and display the characteristic oblique twisting of
leaves.
Conservation status: Lower Risk Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: named from the Latin acuminatus meaning tapering to a narrow point, referring to the
shape of the leaf apices.
Taxonomic Treatment
210
Common names: Moli-motsanyane, thotolinyenyane (Sesotho).
Vouchers: Compton 27182 (NBG); Dieterlen 290 (PRE); Dold 678 (GRA); Moss 13888 (J); Singh 655 (NH).
5. Hypoxis longifolia Baker ex Hook.f., Curtis Botanical Magazine 26: t. 6035 (1873), non Baker
(1904); Baker: 115 (1878b); Baker in Thiselton-Dyer: 185 (1896); Singh: 363 (2007). Type: South
Africa, Free State, Vet River, Burke s.n. (K, lecto!).
H. longifolia var. thunbergii Baker: 116 (1878b). Type: South Africa, Cape, Thunberg s.n. (UPS, image no.
8269!) as H. villosa var. .
H. zululandensis S.E. Wood (MS), MSc. Dissertation, unpublished, pg. 65. Type: South Africa, KwaZuluNatal, Ubombo, Manzengwenya, Moll 4740 (NBG, holo!).
Tall, slender, glabrous herb, 200–350 mm high, growing singly. Rhizome turbinate, 40–52 x 35–50
mm, with many contractile roots arising above middle, crowned by leaves and a dense mass of fibrous
bristles from remains of old leaves, yellow inside. False stem slender, 40–70 x 6–10 mm. Leaves few,
4–6(–8), erect or semi-erect, clasping at base to form a narrow false stem, filiform, 150–500 x 2–4
mm, subterete rarely flat, ribbed; veins 4–6, close to each other, uniformly thickened and raised on
upper surface, straw-colour, blade near-glabrous or with few hairs, margins and midrib on lower
surface outlined in white by a thickened band of squat hairs; hairs stellate (4–5 arms) with one to two
arms three times longer than the rest, short arms ± 0.3 mm, long arms ± 1 mm, appressed, white.
Inflorescence 2–4 per plant, appearing with leaves and produced sequentially, racemose, covered in
white, patent hairs; scapes as tall as or shorter than leaves, 150–400 x 1–2 mm, flattened in cross
section (ancipitous). Flowers 4–5(–7); pedicels 11–30 x 0.5–1.0 mm when flowers open. Bract
subulate, 5–19 x 1–2 mm. Tepals 3+3, yellow adaxially; outer tepals broadly elliptic, 12–14 x 4–5
mm, green and hairy abaxially; inner tepals ovate-elliptic, 10–12 x 5–6 mm, yellow, green and
sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments linear, 2–3 mm long; anthers 4–
5mm long, sagittate, apex split. Ovary 4–5 mm long; style cylindrical, ± 3 mm long; stigma pyramidal
with 3 concave faces, 1–3 mm long. Capsule turbinate, 4–7 x 3–5 mm, opening by a circular slit.
Seeds ovoid, 1.8–2 x 1.4–1.5 mm, black, glossy; testa papillate. Flowering time: August–May, mostly
in November–January. Figure 12.16.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. longifolia is a slender herb with a narrow, short false
stem and characteristic linear, subterete leaves with few veins close to each other, thickened and
Taxonomic Treatment
211
raised on the upper surface making the leaves appear ribbed. The blade is usually glabrous while the
margins and midrib on lower surface are ciliate, being lined with squat white stellate hairs.
H. longifolia closely resembles H. kraussiana in leaf width, venation and hair characters. However,
the longer leaves, more than 120 mm long, and inflorescences with usually more than two flowers in
H. longifolia separates it from H. kraussiana. In H. kraussiana, leaves are shorter and inflorescences
consistently two-flowered. The slender, subterete, ribbed leaves of H. longifolia are also similar to
those in H. filiformis. However, the rhizome in H. longifolia is also much larger with a strong crown
of bristles in comparison to H. filiformis, and leaves in the latter species are sparsely covered with
long, weak mostly bifurcate hairs (pilose).
Distribution and ecology: H. longifolia occurs in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. It is found
in all provinces of South Africa, except the Northern Cape and has a coastal and inland distribution. It
extends along the coast from Knysna (Western Cape) to Ubombo in KwaZulu-Natal and westwards
across Free State and Lesotho and into North West (Figure 12.34P). The species also extends into
tropical Africa, occurring in southern Mozambique. A specimen, Govender 79 (NH), collected west
of Zitundo in Mozambique during a SABONET southern Mozambique Expedition 2001, was found
to closely match the type specimen. It has not been previously recorded in Mozambique. Plants of H.
longifolia occur in grasslands, in well-drained or moist soil and full sun. The species grows at
altitudes of 10 to 700 m above sea level. It appears not to be frequently collected, possibly being
missed among tall grass due to the very slender habit.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: derived from the Latin longi and folia describing the long, narrow leaves of the species.
Vouchers: Gerstner 4936 (PRE); Hugo 2088 (PRE); MacOwan 2123 (NBG); Moll 4740 (NBG, NH);
Ngwenya 1738 (NH).
6. Hypoxis ludwigii Baker in Journal of Botany 14: 181 (1876), 116 (1878b), in Thiselton-Dyer:
185 (1896). Type: South Africa, Eastern Cape, Baziya, Baur 301, cult. in Baron Ludwig’s garden in
Cape Town (K, image!; B!).
Tall, slender herb, 250–350 mm high, sparsely hairy, usually growing in tufts forming large stands.
Rhizome oblong, 25–40 x 15–20 mm, with contractile roots, crowned by leaves and a mass of dense
bristles from remains of old leaf bases, yellow or orange inside. False stem cylindrical, slender, 40–50
Taxonomic Treatment
212
x 20-30 mm. Leaves 8–10, clasping at base to form false stem, coriaceous, erect, linear, 300–450 x
(8–)10–20 mm; veins 16–40, almost all thickened and raised on upper surface (ribbed), sparsely
hairy; hairs scattered on blade, bifurcate, V-shaped, ascending, dense on margin and midrib below
forming a white band (ciliate), stellate (3–6 arms); arms of unequal length, needle-shaped, 1–2 mm
long. Inflorescence 1–4 per plant, produced sequentially in the growing season, racemose, covered in
white, ascending hairs; scapes as tall as or shorter than leaves, 150–200 x 2–3 mm, ancipitous.
Flowers 2–5, lower two opposite each other, upper tier with 2–3 flowers; pedicels 16–25 x 1–2 mm
when flowers open. Bract linear-subulate, 5–12 mm long, hairy below. Tepals 3+3, yellow adaxially;
outer tepals broadly elliptic, 10–12 x 3–3.5 mm, green and densely hairy abaxially; inner tepals ovateelliptic, 8–10 x 3–4 mm, with a green band and hairy along midrib abaxially. Stamens with filaments
subulate, 2–3 mm long; anthers 2.5–3 mm long, sagittate, apex entire. Ovary 4–5 mm long; style 1–2
mm long; stigma pyramidal with 3 concave faces, 1–3 mm long. Capsule turbinate, 4–7 mm x 3–4
mm, opening by a circular slit. Seeds ovoid, 1.5–2 x 1–1.5 mm, black, glossy; testa smooth.
Flowering time: August–February. Figure 12.17.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. ludwigii is a slender herb with a narrow false stem and
linear leaves with many veins close to each other, thickened and almost all raised on the upper surface
making the leaves appear ribbed. The blade is glabrous or lightly covered with bifurcate long hairs,
while the margins and midrib on lower surface are ciliate, being lined with squat white stellate hairs.
H. ludwigii is closely related to H. longifolia having strongly ribbed ciliate leaves. and corymbose
inflorescences. It is separated from H. longifolia, in its leaves being wider and inflorescences usually
with more than two flowers. In H. longifolia leaves are subterete and inflorescences usually twoflowered. H. ludwigii may be confused with H. rigidula var. rigidula in its rigid, hairy leaves but
differs in its shorter false stems, shorter and broader ribbed leaves, and corymbose fewer (usually 2–
4) flowers per inflorescence. In H. rigidula var. rigidula, false stems are long and narrow, leaves
strap-like, ribbed near each margin and inflorescences with usually more than five flowers racemose.
Further, specimens of H. ludwigii dry light green while those of H. rigidula var. rigidula dry dark
brown.
Distribution and ecology: H. ludwigii occurs in South Africa and possibly Lesotho, and is known
from a single specimen in Namibia. In South Africa, it is found in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal
and Free State, and is associated with the Drakensberg Mountains. It extends from Stutterheim in the
south to Warden in the north and is concentrated in the Drakensberg mountain range close to the
KwaZulu-Natal-Lesotho border (Figure 12.34Q). H. ludiwgii grows in grasslands, in well-drained or
moist soil and full sun. The species grows at high altitudes of 1300 to 2400 m above sea level.
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Conservation status: Lower risk-Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: Named in honour of Baron Carl Ludwig (1784–1847), who established a noteworthy
botanic garden known as the Ludwig-burg Garden in the Cape around 1830.
Vouchers: Hilliard & Burtt 187692 (NU); Hilliard & Burtt 18751 (NU); Singh 522, (NH); Singh & Baijnath
314 (NH).
7. Hypoxis hemerocallidea Fisch., C.A. Mey. & Avé-Lall., Index Seminum quae Hortus Botanicus
Imperialis Petropolitanus 8: 64 (1842); Baker: 119 (1878b); Baker in Thiselton-Dyer: 188 (1896); Nel
51: 316 (1914); Compton: 130 (1976); Burtt: 202 (1986); Singh: 362 (2007). Type: South Africa,
Cape of Good Hope, cult. in Hort. Bot. Petrop. (LE, image!).
H. elata Hook.f. (non Schultes & Schultes): t. 5690 (1868). Type: From specimen grown in Reigate, 1862.
H. obconica Nel: 330 (1914). Syntypes: South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Pinetown, South Africa, KwaZuluNatal, Verulam, Schlechter 2898 (B!, BR, GRA!, PRE!, ZT!); Thode July 1893 (B!); South Africa, KwaZuluNatal, Inanda, Wood 184 (K, image!).
H. patula Nel: 333 (1914); Retief & Herman: 69 (1997). Type: South Africa, Mpumalanga, Barberton,
Saddleback Range, Galpin 1100 (K, holo., image!; PRE, isolecto!).
H. rooperi T. Moore: 65 cum icone (1852); Lemaire: t. 303 (1853); Baker: 118 (1878b) excl. specim. Forbes
(1822); Baker in Thiselton-Dyer: 188 (1896); Wood: 132 (1907); Nel: 337 (1914); Phillips t.172 (1925); Burtt:
202 (1986). Type: cult. by Rev. T. Rooper of Wick Hill, Brighton in October 1850, from a plant collected by
Captain E. Rooper in the Eastern Cape at the Buffalo River mouth in July 1837 (K, image!). Syntype: South
Africa, Eastern Cape, Albany Division, near Bushmans River, Drège 8529 (K!).
H. rooperi var. forbesii Baker: 118 (1878b); Baker in Thiselton-Dyer: 189 (1996). Type: Mozambique,
Delagoa Bay, Forbes s.n.K1999/1186 (1822) (K, holo., image!).
Robust sparsely hairy herb, 100–600 mm high, growing singly. Rhizome globose, turbinate or
oblong, 25–100 x 25–60 mm, with many contractile roots arising above middle; crowned by leaves
and a dense mass of fibrous bristles from remains of old leaves; yellow to orange inside. Leaves
many, (6–)8–12, noticeably arranged one above the other in three ranks with roughly 1200 between
the ranks, lanceolate, seldom linear-lanceolate, (10–)200–500(–900) x 18–25(–45) mm, sickle-shaped
(falcate), recurving, folded together along the length (conduplicate) towards the base, V- or inverted
Taxonomic Treatment
214
W-shaped in cross section; veins flush with surface, two near each margin thickened and raised on
upper surface; with an even distribution of hairs, mainly on lower surface and in young leaves, less
hairy with age; hairs on blade bifurcate, V- or U-shaped, on margins scattered, stellate (3–6 arms)
with 1or 2 arms more strongly developed, ascending, white. Inflorescence 3–8 per plant, produced
sequentially throughout the growing season with leaves, racemose, covered in long, ascending, white
hairs; scapes as tall as or shorter than leaves, 150–350 x 15–50 mm, flattened in cross section
(ancipitous). Flowers (2–)4–12 in tiers, basal tier with 2 flowers, opposite, upper tiers with 2 or 3
flowers; pedicels 10–30 x 1.5–4.0 mm when flowers open. Bract subulate, ½ to 1½ the length of
pedicel, 5–38 x 3–4 mm. Tepals 3+3, yellow adaxially; outer tepals broadly elliptic, 12–20 x 4–7 mm,
green and hairy abaxially; inner tepals ovate-elliptic, 10–18 x 7–8 mm, yellow, green and sparsely
hairy along midrib abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments subulate, 2–4 mm long; anthers 4–7 mm
long, sagittate, apex entire or split. Ovary 3–4 mm; style 1–2.5 mm long; stigma pyramidal with 3
concave faces, 2–5 mm long. Capsule ellipsoidal or turbinate, 7–10 x 5–7 mm, opening by a circular
slit. Seeds ovoid, 1.5–2 x 1–1.8 mm, black, glossy; testa smooth. Flowering time: August–May,
mostly September–March. Figure 12.13.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: In southern Africa, H. hemerocallidea is the best known
species in the genus. Plants of the species are diagnostic in their appearance and easy to identify,
particularly in the field. The leaves are arranged one above the other in three ranks with roughly 1200
between the ranks. Leaves are sickle-shape (falcate), recurving with an even distribution of soft,
ascending hairs. The species is most similar to H. obtusa in the size of rhizomes, habit and
inflorescence. However, the soft, pilose leaves of H. hemerocallidea are distinct from the rigid, ribbed
near-glabrous leaves with ciliate margins in H. obtusa. H. hemerocallidea is one of the most variable
species in the genus with regards to plant height, leaf dimensions, hairiness, number of flowers
depending on the age of plants and part of season. The new season’s leaves are always densely hairy
and as the leaves mature, hair density is reduced by the enlargement of the leaf surface area. In young
plants, less than three years that develop from seed, leaves are short and narrow approaching linear,
densely hairy and have fewer flowers in comparison to older plants. The smaller form has been
confused as representing a new entity. Also, at the start of the growing season, like in H. rigidula, the
first few inflorescences in H. hemerocallidea bear two flowers, opposite each other; deviating from
the usually many-flowered racemes in the species.
Distribution and ecology: H. hemerocallidea is found in Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland and
Lesotho. It occurs in all provinces in South Africa, except the Western Cape and Northern Cape. It is
concentrated in the eastern region of the country with a coastal and inland distribution (Figure
Taxonomic Treatment
215
12.34M). Its distribution extends into tropical Africa, where it occurs in Zimbabwe and Mozambique
but is scarce in these countries in comparison to southern Africa. Possibly, also in Kenya and Uganda
(see notes). In southern Africa, plants of H. hemerocallidea occupy a wide range of habitats. Plants
form extensive pure stands in open grasslands. To a lesser degree, they extend into sandy dune slopes
and damp areas around streams. The species is adaptable enough to grow in semi-shade conditions for
example in thicket and forest margins. It also occurs in disturbed areas like road verges and pine
plantations. H. hemerocallidea occurs from just above sea level at 5 m to high altitudes up to 1800 m.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Near Threatened (LRnt) due to its exploitation for the medicinal
trade especially in the Eastern Cape Province and KwaZulu-Natal.
Etymology: hemerocallidea is used in reference to the species resembling the leaves of
Hemerocallis, the day lily.
Common names: African potato (coined recently by the media following its popularization in South
Africa as a potential immune booster for patients with immune-related diseases like cancer and
HIV/AIDS, star-flower, gifbol, sterblom, kaffertulp (Afrikaans), moli-kharatsa (Sesotho), inkomfe
(Zulu).
Uses: H. hemerocallidea is the species most used by humans among the hypoxids in southern
Africa. Rhizomes of the species were used for centuries to treat various ailments including headaches
and mental disorders by the Zulu (Hutchings, 1996). White farmers in South Africa used the rhizomes
as a herbal remedy to treat prostate cancer (Van Staden 1981). The species has potential in Western
medicine as it contains the diglucoside, hypoxoside, which in its active form rooperol is known to
inhibit cancer cells (Drewes & Khan 2004). Plants of the species are still being harvested from the
wild for the medicinal plant (muthi) trade and this is of concern to conservationists, as populations
diminish in the wild, especially in the Eastern Cape Province (Dold & Cocks 2002) and KwaZuluNatal. H. hemerocallidea is an excellent species for the garden and when massed in a bed, its large
bright yellow flowers provide a resplendent display.
Notes: Hypoxis hemerocallidea is not considered to occur in the Flora of Tropical East Africa region
and is possibly considered within the concept of H. urceolata or H. obtusa (Nordal et al. 1995;
Wiland-Szymańska & Nordal 2006). Specimens Verdcourt & Fraser Darling 2281, Glover, Gwynne
& Samuel 809, Hansen 756, Horeau 73, Iveas 871, Kerfoot 2640, Sheldrick 11559 and Verdcourt
3828C, collected in Kenya, Gillett & Kariuki 18825 and Lye & Rwaburindore 4517 and Harker 445
Taxonomic Treatment
216
from Uganda, all in EA (and on loan to NH, except Verdcourt 3828C and Harker 445) are identified
as H. hemerocallidea in the present study. Considering the number of collections, there appears to be
a marked decline in the occurrence of H. hemerocallidea in tropical Africa.
Baker (1878b) separated H. rooperi T. Moore from H. hemerocallidea on its corymbose-like
inflorescence. Based on the smallness in stature of the plant, Baker (1878b) proposed the variety
forbesii citing Forbes s.n. (in K) collected in Mozambique. Burtt (1986) clarified the concept of H.
hemerocallidea and reduced H. rooperi as a synonym of H. hemerocallidea. Burtt (1986) also
discusses the problems around Heideman’s (1983) concept of H. rigidula and H. hemerocallidea.
Heideman (1979, 1983) considered two varieties in H. rooperi namely var. rooperi and var. forbesii.
She recognised var. forbesii as a smaller plant and included with these, plants with new leaves in the
growing season e.g. Leisgang 46 (NU). During fieldwork in South Africa, plants of H.
hemerocallidea were found to have a varying degree of leaf dimensions, number of flowers and
dimensions of pedicels. It is extremely difficult to define limits for leaf dimensions in order to create
varieties within H. hemerocallidea. As in other robust species, younger plants of H. hemerocallidea
appear different from the older plants in a population and if collected independently, can be mistaken
for a new entity. Therefore, the approach in this study has been to extend the limits of variability to
accommodate the small and large facies of a species over its growing season. Variety H. rooperi var.
forbesii is considered within the limits of H. hemerocallidea.
Vouchers: Barker 4367 (NBG); Cloete & Bosa 3219 (NH); Galpin 1190 (PRE); Nicholas & Perks 1502
(PRE); Singh 649 (NH).
8. Hypoxis obtusa Ker Gawl., Botanical Register 2: t. 159 (1816); Baker: 114 (1878b) & in
Thiselton-Dyer: 184 (1896); Burtt: 205 (1986); Nordal & Zimudzi: 13 (2001); Singh: 363 (2007).
Type: Bot. Reg. t. 159, icono!.
H. iridifolia Baker: 117 (1878b); Burtt: 204 (1986); Retief & Herman: 69 (1997); Nordal & Zimudzi: 13
(2001). Type: “Tropical South Africa”, Baines s.n. October 1872, (K, holo!.).
H. nitida I. Verd. 27: t. 1058 (1949). Type: South Africa, Gauteng, Pretoria, Robertson 2 (holo., PRE!).
H. obtusa var. chrysotricha Nel: 334 (1914). Type: South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Newmarket, Krook 405
(W)-type lost in World War II.
Taxonomic Treatment
217
Robust herb, 200–450 mm high, growing singly. Rhizome subglobose, oblong or turbinate, 4–12 x
4–8 mm, with many contractile roots arising above middle, crowned by leaves and a dense mass of
fibrous bristles from remains of old leaves, yellow or orange inside. Leaves many, (6–)8–15,
coriaceous, erect or recurving, arranged one above the other in three ranks with about 1200 between
the ranks, folded together along the length (conduplicate) at least at base, spirally twisting upwards
with age, lanceolate, sometimes linear-lanceolate, 100–700 x 6–30 mm, gradually tapering to a
narrow acute apex; veins 30–70, close to each other, uniformly thickened and raised on upper surface
(ribbed), bases sometimes red or purple, near-glabrous or hairy towards base, margin and midrib
outlined in white by a thickened band of squat hairs (ciliate); hairs stellate (3–6 arms) with 1 or 2
arms more strongly developed, needle-shaped, appressed. Inflorescence 2–5 per plant, produced
sequentially throughout growing season with leaves, racemose, covered in short bristle-like, patent,
white hairs; scapes as tall as or shorter than leaves, 250–350 x 25–70 mm, flattened in cross section
(ancipitous). Flowers (2–)5–12 in tiers, basal tier with 2 flowers, opposite, upper tiers with 2 or 3
flowers, two to four opening at a time; pedicels unequal in length, lowermost longer, 5–20 x 1–2 mm
when flowers open. Bract subulate, 7–35 mm x 3–4 mm. Tepals 3+3, yellow adaxially; outer tepals
broadly elliptic, (10–)12–20 x 4–8 mm, green and hairy abaxially; inner tepals ovate-elliptic, 10–18 x
6–10 mm, yellow, green and sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments
subulate, 2–5 mm long; anthers 5–8 mm long, sagittate, apex entire. Ovary 3–4 mm; style 1–2.5 mm
long; stigma pyramidal with 3 concave faces, 2–4 mm long. Capsule turbinate, 6–7 x 5–7 mm,
opening by a circular slit. Seeds ovoid, 1.5–2 x 1–1.5 mm, black, glossy; testa smooth. Flowering
time: August–February. Figure 12.22.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. obtusa is easy to identify from its leaf characters. Its
leaves are stiff and ribbed due to the many veins close to each other, thickened and raised on upper
surface. The leaf blade is glabrous except at bases. Leaf hairs form a conspicuous white band along
margins and midrib on lower surface. The species is also floriferous, with 5–11 flowers per raceme.
H. obtusa is most similar to H. hemerocallidea in its habit and inflorescences, but leaves in the latter
species are moderately firm (not rigid and ribbed) and have an even distribution of long, weak hairs.
H. obtusa is also related to H. longifolia and H. obliqua in its ciliate leaf margins and midrib on lower
surface but can be separated from these species on habit, leaf width, inflorescence type and tepal size.
H. longifolia has linear leaves wrapped in false stem at the base and four to five flowers in a
corymbose inflorescence while H. obtusa lacks a false stem, its leaves are lanceolate and usually more
than five flowers held in a racemose inflorescence. H. obliqua is a short plant, less than 150 mm high
and tepals up to 12 mm long in comparison to H. obtusa which is usually more than 200 mm high and
tepals are more than 12 mm long.
Taxonomic Treatment
218
Distribution and ecology: H. obtusa occurs in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho and
Swaziland. In South Africa it occurs in all provinces except the Western Cape . The species is
common in South Africa with a more inland distribution. It is known from a few localities in
Botswana and Namibia and is the only species that extends marginally into the Northern Cape at the
North West border (Figure 12.34V). H. obtusa also extends into tropical Africa and occurs in
Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The species prefers open grasslands, especially sandy areas
and full sun. It grows at altitudes of 300 to 2100 m above sea level. In southern Africa, H. obtusa
forms pure stands or grows sympatrically with H. rigidula and H. colchicifolia. Although
hybridization among these species is suspected, it is not obvious from field observations as suspected
hybrids tend to strongly resemble one parent and can be placed into the range for one species. It is
therefore not possible to provide a conclusive remark on occurrence of hybridisation between these
species in the absence of extensive field observations and breeding studies that include apomixis and
hybridization.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: Named from the Latin obtusus, referring to the blunt tips of the tepals.
Common names: Mr Burchell’s hypoxis, Moli-boea (Sesotho); inkomfe (Zulu).
Uses: H. obtusa has a few varied uses in southern Africa. Hypoxoside, the di-glucoside targeted
mainly from H. hemerocallidea and H. colchicifolia for its anti-tumor activity for treating cancer
patients, was first isolated from H. obtusa (Marini-Bettolo et al. 1982). H. obtusa, like the two former
species would therefore also be a good source of hypoxoside. Together with H. rigidula var. rigidula,
H. obtusa is used to make twine for cross threading thatch roofing of huts in the midlands of
KwaZulu-Natal. The species is also reported to be used in the making of floor polish for huts in rural
KwaZulu-Natal (Singh 1999). Like H. hemerocallidea, H. obtusa offers a brilliant display of large
yellow flowers in gardens in the spring and summer months.
Vouchers: Bester 1333 (NH, PRU); Dinter 617 (NBG); Cross PRE38186 (PRE); Jenkins TM7124 (PRE);
Singh & Wiland 689 (NH).
Taxonomic Treatment
219
9. Hypoxis stellipilis Ker Gawl., Botanical Register t. 663 (1822); Fisch. & C.A. Meyer (1845);
Baker: 118 (1878b). Type: t. 663 (1822) icono. Epitype selected here: South Africa, Eastern Cape,
Uitenhage, Zwartkops River, Zeyher 4140 (K!, NBG!).
H. lanata Eckl. in herb. ex Baker: 118 (1878b). Exsic.
Medium-sized, soft herb, 100–200 mm high, growing singly. Rhizome oblong, slightly longer than
wide, 40–60 x 30–50 mm, with many contractile roots arising above middle, crowned by leaves and a
mass of bristles from remains of old leaves, yellow inside. Leaves many, 10–18, arranged one above
the other in three ranks, lanceolate, 150–300(–400) x 12–25 mm, sickle-shaped (falcate), recurving,
folded together along the length (conduplicate) at least at base, upper surface dark green and glabrous,
lower surface white tomentose; veins 8–14, slender, flush with surface, one to two near each margin
thickened and raised on upper surface, obscured on lower surface by hairy layer; hairs stellate (6–14
arms), star-shaped; arms needle-shaped, short, one or two more strongly developed, 1–3 mm long,
appressed, in different heights over each other, interwoven to form thick, silvery-white layer.
Inflorescence 2–4 per plant, produced sequentially in growing season, corymbose, covered in dense,
long, soft hairs (furry); scapes as tall as or shorter than leaves, 75–130(–200) mm long, flattened in
cross section (ancipitous). Flowers 3 or 4(–7); pedicels unequal in length bringing flowers to same
height; two lowermost 10–20 mm long; upper 2–5 mm long. Bract subulate-linear, 10–25 mm long,
hairy below. Tepals 3+3, yellow adaxially; outer tepals broadly elliptic, (12–)15–19 x 4–5 mm, green
and hairy abaxially; inner tepals ovate-elliptic 14–18 x 5–6 mm, yellow, green and sparsely hairy
along midrib abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments linear, 2–3 mm long; anthers 3–5 mm long,
sagittate, apex split. Ovary 6 mm long; style ± 4 mm long; stigma pyramidal with 3 concave faces, ± 4
mm long. Capsule turbinate, 6–8 x 4–5 mm, opening by a circular slit. Seeds ovoid, 1–2 x 0.8–1.0
mm, black, glossy; testa papillate. Flowering time: August–April. Figure 12.30.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. stellipilis is the most distinct species in the genus. The
entire lower surface of leaves is silvery-white and tomentose due to the stellate, appressed,
interwoven, thick hairs. The upper surface of leaves is near-glabrous and dark green. The type and
distribution of hairs makes the species unique. H. stellipilis is most closely allied with H.
hemerocallidea and H. obtusa in leaves arranged one above the other in three ranks and large flowers,
more than 20 mm in diameter. It differs from these species in its unique hair type and distribution, and
corymbose inflorescences. In H. hemerocallidea hairs are bifurcate and evenly distributed throughout
leaves while in H. obtusa leaves are near-glabrous and ciliate on margins, being lined with stellate
hairs.
Taxonomic Treatment
220
Distribution and ecology: H. stellipilis is a South African endemic with a very narrow distribution
range. It occurs from Uniondale (Western Cape) in the south, along the coast to Port Elizabeth
(Eastern Cape) in the north, making it the only Hypoxis species near-endemic to the Cape Floristic
Region (Figure 12.34AD). The species is known mainly from the Albany Thicket Biome, where it
grows in grassy patches on drier hill slopes, in full sun or partial shade. H. stellipilis prefers lower
altitudes of 160 to 560 m above sea level. Plants of this species are very scarce in its distribution
range, never forming strong populations.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Near Threatened (LRnt) due to few and small size of populations.
Etymology: named from the Latin stellipilis (star-shaped), referring to the mass of stellate hairs
forming a silvery-white layer on lower surface of leaves.
Common names: Starry-furred hypoxis.
Vouchers: Acocks 16117 (PRE); Drege 9018 (PRE); Ecklon & Zeyher 1063 (BOL, GRA, NBG); Phillips &
Van Rensberg 2113 (J); Singh 621 (NH).
10. Hypoxis interjecta Nel, Engler Botanische Jahrbücher 51: 321 (1914). Type: South Africa,
Mpumalanga, near Lydenburg Wilms 1454 (B, holo!).
H. pretoriensis Goossens (MS). Type: South Africa, Gauteng, near Pretoria, Muckleneuk, Goossens 91 (K,
holo., image!).
Stout, tough, glabrous herb, 100–120 mm high, glabrous, growing singly. Rhizome oblong to
subglobose, 20–60 mm x 15–30 mm, with few contractile roots arising above middle; crowned by
leaves and a dense mass of fibrous bristles from remains of old leaves; yellow or orange inside.
Leaves few, 4–7, erect or semi-erect, bases overlapping in a rosette, lanceolate to broadly oblonglanceolate, 40–60 x 8–20 mm, elongating to 250–400 mm in post-flowering, forming false petioles
when shaded by dense grass, flat, tapering rapidly to subacute apices; veins 12–18, close to each
other, flush with surface, two near each margin slightly thickened and raised on upper surface,
glabrous; hairs if present then on margins and midrib of younger leaves, caducous in mature leaves,
stellate (3 or 4 arms), white or yellow. Inflorescence 2–4 per plant, appearing before or with
emergence of leaves, corymbose noticeable when flowers more than 2, densely covered with coarse,
short, white or yellow hairs (hispid); scapes as tall as to twice as tall as leaves, 50–80 mm long,
flattened in cross section (ancipitous). Flowers usually 2, opposite, seldom 4 in 2 tiers of 2 flowers
Taxonomic Treatment
221
each; pedicels short, 6–15 x 1.5 mm, densely covered in short, yellow hairs. Bract subulate, 5–6 mm
long, densely covered in short hairs. Tepals 3+3, yellow adaxially; outer tepals broadly elliptic, 14–15
x 6–8 mm, green and densely hairy abaxially; inner tepals ovate-elliptic, 13–14 x 8–10 mm, yellow,
green and sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments subulate, 3–4 mm long;
anthers 4–5 mm long, sagittate, apex entire; Ovary 2–3 mm long. style 0.5–2 mm long, stigma
pyramidal with 3 concave faces, 1.5–2 mm long. Capsule turbinate, 5–6 x 4–5 mm opening by a
circular slit. Seeds few, 3–5, ovoid, large, 2–3 x 1–1.8 mm, black, glossy; testa smooth. Flowering
time: August–October. Figure 12.14.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. interjecta can be identified by its short leaves, less than
100 mm long when flowers open, completely glabrous when mature, and usually two-flowered,
strong inflorescences. The species is closely related to H. multiceps and H. costata in having few,
short, broadly oblong leaves overlapping in a rosette-like arrangement and stout inflorescences,
produced at the start of the growing season and reaching fruiting by the time leaves develop fully. H.
interjecta differs from H. multiceps and H. costata in having glabrous leaves. In H. multiceps, leaves
are scabrous while in H. costata, veins, margins and midrib on lower surface are ciliated with long
soft hairs, noticeable to the naked eye. Glabrous leaves in H. interjecta are similar to those in H.
colchicifolia but cannot be confused with H. colchicifolia as the latter is a robust plant with large,
ribbed leaves and racemose inflorescences. A few specimens of H. interjecta (Behr 607 in NBG, West
387 in PRE), Thode 161 (in PRU) were found to have stellate hairs sparsely distributed on margins
and midrib on the lower surface of young leaves and may be confused with H. obliqua. However, in
H. interjecta, hairs are scattered, ascending, falling off with age while in H. obliqua, margins and
midrib on the lower surface are ciliate, with stellate, appressed hairs that persist.
Distribution and ecology: H. interjecta is a South African endemic with an inland distribution. It
occurs in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Gauteng; most collections being from around Pretoria,
(Gauteng) [Figure 12.34N]. The species occurs on hill and mountain slopes, in full sun and at high
altitudes, between 1400 and 1800 m above sea level. As the species does not continue to produce
inflorescences sequentially into the growing season, they are possibly overlooked in the field, and this
may explain the scant number of herbarium specimens. Like H. multiceps and H. costata, H.
interjecta shows pronounced environmentally induced variation (phenotypic plasticity) in postflowering. Leaves are two to four times longer, appearing different from the start of the growing
season. Elongation of leaves is possibly due to ecological change from full sun to partial shade
created by tall grass. Although not recorded for the species from the few number of specimens
Taxonomic Treatment
222
collected, bases of leaves possibly narrow to form petioles as in the allied species, H. multiceps and
H. costata.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: named from the Latin interjectus (placed in between, intermediate between) presumably
in reference to it being intermediate between the tall near-glabrous H. colchicifolia and the stout
scabrous species like H. multiceps with very hairy inflorescences.
Vouchers: Behr 607 (NBG); Codd 2215 (PRE); Reddy, Reddy & Reddy 520 (J, NH); Singh 613 (NH); Venter
& Vorster 5 (PRE).
11. Hypoxis costata Baker, Journal of the Linnean Society, Botany 17: 119 (1878b); Baker in
Thiselton-Dyer: 188 (1896); Burtt: 202 (1986); Retief & Herman: 69 (1997). Type: South Africa,
Free State, Nelson’s Kop, Cooper 879 (K, holo!).
Stout, tough, sparsely hairy herb, 100–150 mm high when in flower, growing singly or in tufts.
Rhizome oblong to subglobose, 10–40 mm in diameter or 1.5 times longer than wide, with many
contractile roots arising above middle, crowned by leaves and a mass of fibrous bristles formed from
remains of old leaves; yellow or orange inside. Leaves few, 4–6(–8), bases overlapping in a rosette,
erect or semi-erect, oblong-lanceolate, 100–200 x 30–50 mm, elongating in post flowering, flat,
tapering rapidly to a subacute apex, stiff, strongly ribbed; veins 30–50, close to each other, uniformly
thickened (one or two veins near each margin more strongly thickened) and raised on upper surface
(ribbed), ciliate; hairs mainly along veins, margins and midrib on lower surface, bifurcate with a few
stellate intermingled, long, weak, white or yellow; arms varying in length, shorter arms 1–1.5 mm
long, longer arms 2.3–2.7 mm long. Inflorescence 1–5 per plant, corymbose, more noticeable when
flowers more than 2, covered in long, soft (villous), white or yellow stellate hairs; scapes overtopping
emerging leaves, 80–200 mm x 2–3 mm, flattened in cross section (ancipitous). Flowers mostly 2,
occasionally 3–5 in 2 tiers, upper tier with 2 or 3 flowers; pedicels 4–12 mm long, villous. Bract
subulate, 13–20 mm long, hairy below. Tepals 3+3, yellow adaxially; outer tepals broadly elliptic,
pale green and hairy abaxially, 12–17 x 3–4 mm; inner tepals ovate-elliptic, 11–16 x 4–5 mm, yellow,
green and sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments subulate, 2.5–3 mm
long; anthers 4–6 mm long, sagittate, apex entire. Ovary 4–5 mm, style 0.5–2 mm long; stigma
subsessile, pyramidal with 3 concave faces, 2–4 mm long. Capsule turbinate or subglobose, 5–6 mm
Taxonomic Treatment
223
in diameter, opening by a circular slit. Seeds large, ovoid, 2–3 x 1.5–1.8 mm, black, glossy; testa
smooth. Flowering time: September–December. Figure 12.7.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. costata is recognised by its stiff, broadly oblonglanceolate leaves, ribbed and ciliate along margins and midrib on lower surface. The species
resembles H. multiceps in its habit and leaf characters at the start of the growing season, but
H. costata differs in having strongly ribbed leaves with ciliate margins and midrib on lower surface.
H. multiceps has a scabrous texture from the dense short hairs. The size and shape of leaves in the
species are variable; one extreme of the range includes plants with broad stout oblong-lanceolate
leaves, while the other extreme includes plants with long, narrow leaves. The form with long, narrow
leaves is associated with tall grass that creates a shaded environment later in the season. As in most
members of Hypoxis, density of leaf hairs was found to be variable in the species; blades being
densely hairy when young and on maturing, blades appear near-glabrous or sparsely hairy.
Distribution and ecology: H. costata occurs in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. In South
Africa, it occurs in Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo,
with an inland distribution (Figure 12.34G). The species grows on grassy hill tops and mountain
slopes, in patches where the grass is scant, in well-drained sandy or loam soil. H. costata occurs at
high altitudes of 1300 to 2500 m above sea level. It prefers full sun and when shaded by tall grasses,
plants show environmentally induced variation (phenotypic plasticity) as noted in H. interjecta and H.
multiceps. Leaves are two to three times larger in the post-flowering period which coincides with the
grass becoming taller. Further, in plants overshadowed by grass, as leaves age they narrow at base to
form false petioles. Elongation and widening of leaves, and petiole formation are possibly due to
ecological change from full sun to partial shade created by tall grass.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: named from the Latin costatus meaning ribbed, in reference to the strongly veined
leaves in the species.
Common names: Kharatsa (Sesotho).
Vouchers: Abbott 5453 (NH); Flanagan 1836 (PRE); Gibbs Russell 3456 (GRA); Onderstall 1287 (PRE);
Singh 300, 309 (NH).
Taxonomic Treatment
224
12. Hypoxis multiceps Buchinger ex Krauss, Flora 28: 311 (1845); Baker: 118 (1878b); Baker in
Thiselton-Dyer: 187 (1896); Nel: 319 (1914); Compton: 130 (1976). Type: South Africa, KwaZuluNatal, Pietermaritzburg, Krauss 248 (K, holo!, BM!).
Stout, tough, scabrous herb, 100–200 mm high, growing singly or in tufts forming large clumps.
Rhizome oblong to subglobose, 30–50 mm x 15–35 mm, with few contractile roots arising above
middle, crowned by leaves and a mass of fibrous bristles from remains of old leaves, occasionally
proliferating by means of short stolons giving rise to new rhizomes, yellow or orange inside. Leaves
few, 4–6(–8), bases overlapping in a rosette, erect or semi-erect, oblong-lanceolate, (30–)80–120 x
12–45(–60) mm, elongating to 250–300 mm in post-flowering, sometimes forming false petioles of
40–200 mm length, flat, tapering rapidly to subacute apex, twisting obliquely with age; veins 25–40,
slender, of uniform thickness, flush with surface, two to four near each margin slightly raised,
scabrous; hairs stellate (4 or 5 arms), yellow or brown; arms needle-shaped, short, of equal length,
0.5–1 mm long, patent (hirsute). Inflorescence 2–6 per plant, appearing before or with emergence of
leaves, corymbose, more noticeable when flowers more than 2, densely covered with coarse, short,
yellow hairs (hispid); scapes usually overtopping emerging leaves, (20–)40–60(–120) x 1–2.5 mm,
flattened in cross section (ancipitous), covered in long, stiff, ascending hairs apically. Flowers 2,
opposite, occasionally 3–5 in 2 tiers; pedicels short, 4–15 x 1 mm, with long, stiff, ascending hairs.
Bract subulate, 4–10 mm long, densely hairy below. Tepals 3+3, yellow adaxially; outer tepals
broadly elliptic, 11–15 x 5–7 mm, pale green and densely hairy below; inner tepals ovate-elliptic, 10–
14 x 6–8 mm, yellow, green and sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments
subulate, 2.5–3 mm long; anthers 4–6 mm long, sagittate, apex entire. Ovary 3–4 mm, style 0.5–1 mm
long, stigma subsessile, pyramidal with 3 concave faces, 2–3 mm long. Capsule turbinate, 5–8 x 4–6
mm, opening by a circular slit. Seeds few, 3–5, large, ovoid, 2–2.5 x 1.5–1.8 mm, black, glossy; testa
smooth. Flowering time: August–November. Figure 12.19.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. multiceps is distinct in having broadly oblonglanceolate, scabrous leaves. The species is closely related to H. costata in its habit and leaves but in
H. costata leaves are strongly ribbed and ciliate (not scabrous). H. multiceps and H. interjecta are
initially hysteranthous and the inflorescences of these species can be confused with each other in the
absence of leaves. In H. multiceps, inflorescences are distinctly scabrous, but the species are best
separated on leaf characters, being glabrous in H. interjecta.
Distribution and ecology: H. multiceps is widespread in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. In
South Africa, the species occurs in Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga
Taxonomic Treatment
225
and Limpopo (Figure 12.34S). Like H. costata, it has an inland distribution, growing on grassy hills
and mountain slopes, in sandy, well-drained soil. The species occurs from close to sea level to high
altitudes, between 20 and 2100 m. In slightly moist depressions, H. multiceps proliferates by short
stolons giving rise to daughter rhizomes and forming large tufts. The species prefers full sun and
when shaded by tall grasses, plants show environmentally induced variation (phenotypic plasticity) as
in H. interjecta and H. multiceps. Leaves appear longer and broader and tend to narrow at the base to
form pseudopetioles, suggesting modifications due to ecological change from full sun to partial shade
created by tall grass.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: derived from the Latin multi (many) and from the Greek cephalus (headed) in reference
to many shoots from a single crown either in allusion to the habit of the plant or to the stellate hairs on
the leaves.
Common names: Winter star-flower, moli-kharatsa, moli-motsane, morethetho (Sesotho), inkomfe
(Zulu).
Uses: In Lesotho, a mixture of H. multiceps and Ipomoea oblongata is prepared and smeared on
pegs that are placed around a kraal for protection against lightning (Watt & Breyer-Brandwijk 1962).
Vouchers: Bester 1594 (NH); Flanagan 1173 (NBG); Galpin 1603 (PRE); Singh 642 (NH); Thode 2539 (NH).
13. Hypoxis sobolifera Jacq. Collectaneorum supplementum: 53 (1796), with illustrations in
Icones plantarum rariorum: t. 372 (1788); Ker Gawler: t. 711 (1804); Schultes & Schultes: 764
(1830); Fischer & Meyer: 51 (1846); Nel: 309 (1914). Type: t. 372, icono! Epitype: Thunberg,
cultivated in Hort. Kew.
Soft hairy herb, 100–200(–250) mm high, growing singly or in tufts forming large clumps. Rhizome
subglobose or turbinate, 40–60(–100) × 20–50 mm, with few stout contractile roots, crowned by
leaves and a mass of fibrous bristles from remains of old leaves, proliferating by means of short
stolons, giving rise to new rhizomes, white or light yellow inside. Leaves usually many, (4–)8–12,
arranged one above the other in three ranks, lanceolate-linear, 100–300 × 10–25 mm, sickle-shaped
(falcate), folded together along the length (conduplicate), twisting towards apex; veins ± 20, slender,
flush with surface, two to four near each margin thickened, raised on upper surface; sparse to densely
Taxonomic Treatment
226
hairy mainly on lower surface; hairs bifurcate or stellate (6–10 arms); arms radiating, ascending,
usually in distinct tufts (floccose), except when very dense then appearing appressed in dried pressed
specimens, of varying lengths, short arms 0.5–0.6 mm, medium arms 1.0–1.5 mm and long arms 1.7–
2.5 mm long, white, turning light to red-brown (rufous) in young leaves on drying, grey-white in old
leaves on drying, falling off in leaves of previous season, resulting in blade becoming glabrous with
age. Inflorescence 2–6 per plant, appearing with leaves and produced sequentially, corymbose, more
noticeable when more than 2-flowered, densely hairy in upper part; hairs white, turning red-brown on
drying; scapes as tall as or shorter than leaves, 80–300 × 1–2 mm, flattened in cross section
(ancipitous). Bract subulate, 10–25 mm long, hairy below. Flowers 2–7, basal two opposite, 1 or 2
upper tiers with 2 or 3 flowers each; pedicels unequal in length, 20–70 × 1.0–1.5 mm, hairy,
lowermost 2–6 times longer than uppermost, bringing flowers to about the same height. Tepals 3+3,
yellow adaxially; outer tepals elliptic, 8–15 × 3.0–6.5 mm, pale green and densely hairy abaxially;
inner tepals ovate-elliptic, 8–14 × 3.5–7.5 mm, yellow, green and sparsely hairy along midrib
abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments subulate, 3–4 mm long; anthers 2–5 mm long, sagittate, apex
clearly split. Ovary 2–4 mm long; style 1.5–2.5 mm long; stigma 2–3 mm long, pyramidal with 3
concave faces. Capsule oblong or turbinate, 6–12 × 4–5 mm, opening by a circular slit then splitting
longitudinally into 3 lobes. Seeds ovoid or subglobose, 1.3–1.5 × 1.0–1.2 mm, black, glossy; testa
papillate with brown micropapillae. Flowering time: August–March.
13a. var. sobolifera
H. canescens Fisch.: 50 (1845). Type: Thunberg, without further details.
H. krebsii Fisch.: 72 (1846). Type: South Africa, Cape of Good Hope, Krebs, cultivated.
H. villosa L.f. var. canescens (Fisch.) Baker: 114 (1878b); Baker in Thiselton-Dyer: 184 (1896). Syntypes:
Thunberg, without further details; South Africa, Eastern Cape, Burchell 3380-2, 3542 (K!); South Africa,
Eastern Cape, Somerset East, MacOwan 1899 (NBG!).
H. villosa L.f. var. sobolifera (Jacq.) Baker: 114 (1878b). Type: Thunberg, cultivated in Hort. Kew.
H. sobolifera Jacq. var. accedens Nel: 310 (1914). Syntypes: South Africa, Cape, Lions Creek, Schlechter
12215 (B!); South Africa, Eastern Cape, Kentani District, without closer locality, Pegler 108 (K!, BOL!, PRE!);
Burchell 6401 (K, image!).
Taxonomic Treatment
227
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. sobolifera is recognised by its grey-white leaves
arranged in three-ranks, corymbose inflorescences and tufted ascending hairs, usually light brown in
colour. It is most closely related to H. villosa which also has leaves in three ranks and corymbose
inflorescences, but differs from H. villosa in the distribution and type of hairs. In H. villosa, hairs are
dense on the lower surface, forming a thin, white layer and unlike H. sobolifera, they are appressed,
with arms arranged in rows parallel to the length of leaf. The tufted, stellate hairs of
H. sobolifera
are similar to those in H. floccosa, but the latter species is distinctly smaller, less than 100 mm tall
and has tiny flowers in comparison to H. sobolifera. Figure 12.29.
Distribution and ecology: H. sobolifera is a South African endemic with a coastal and inland
distribution. H. sobolifera var. sobolifera occurs in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZuluNatal from Stellenbosch in the south to Zululand in the north. It has a mainly coastal distribution but a
few populations are noted from the foothills of the Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal (Figure 12.34AC).
H. sobolifera var. sobolifera shows pronounced environmentally induced variation (phenotypic
plasticity). Leaves of plants growing in the shade of trees or among tall grass are two to three times
longer and broader than those growing in open grassland. The leaves of the larger plants are more
sparsely hairy than those of smaller plants, implying that hair density is reduced by enlargement of
leaf surface which may be due to ecological change from full sun to partial shade. In the Eastern
Cape, var. sobolifera occurs among short, dense coastal scrub. Along the beach in West Bank, East
London, the variety forms mats in between rocks where it is sheltered from the salt spray.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: derived from the Latin sobolifera which means with an underground creeping stem in
reference to dividing rhizomes.
Common names: Creeping hypoxis.
Vouchers: Chering s.n. PRE38062 (PRE); Hall 206 (NBG); MacOwan 1899 (GRA, NBG); Singh 578, 622
(NH); Starke 100/27 (BOL).
13b. var. pannosa (Baker) Nel, Botanische Jahrbücher 51: 309 (1914). Type: South Africa, Cape,
without precise locality, from the Royal Horticultural Society, cultivated at Kew and flowered in
1874. Specimen prepared in 1875 (K!).
Taxonomic Treatment
228
H. pannosa Baker: 130 (1874). Type: South Africa, Cape, without precise locality, from the Royal
Horticultural Society, cultivated at Kew and flowered in 1874. Specimen prepared in 1875 (K!).
H. villosa L.f. var. pannosa (Baker) Baker: 114 (1878b); Baker in Thiselton-Dyer: 184 (1896). Type: South
Africa, Cape, without precise locality, from the Royal Horticultural Society, cultivated at Kew and flowered in
1874. Specimen prepared in 1875 (K!).
Diagnostic characters: Variety pannosa differs from var. sobolifera in having felt-like leaves and
predominantly red-brown hairs. Figure 12.28.
Distribution and ecology: H. sobolifera var. pannosa occurs in the Eastern Cape and possibly
KwaZulu-Natal. It extends along the Eastern Cape coast, from Humansdorp in the south to Kentani in
the North (Figure 12.34AB). Only a single collection, Wood 3434 (in K, NH), collected in 1886 is
known from the slopes of the Drakensberg Mountains in KwaZulu-Natal, without precise locality and
is therefore not reflected on the map. To date, no other specimens of the variety have been collected
so far inland.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: derived from Latin pannosus meaning felt-like in reference to the hair covering on
leaves.
Vouchers: Cloete & Calvo-Ugarteburu 3889 (NH); MacOwan 1899 (NBG); Theron 1692 (PRE); Scharf 1074
(PRE); Singh 828 (NH).
14. Hypoxis villosa L.f., Supplementum Plantarum: 198 (1781); Thunberg: 60 (1794), Schultes &
Schultes: 765 (1830); Baker: 113 (1878b); Baker: 113 (1978) Baker in Thiselton-Dyer: 184 (1896);
Baker in Thiselton-Dyer: 379 (1898). Type: South Africa, Cape, without closer locality, Thunberg
(UPS image no. 8267, 8268!).
H. microsperma Ave-Lall. in Fischer & C.A. Meyer: 50 (1845). Type: South Africa, Cape of Good Hope,
without further information.
H. scabra Lodd. t. 970 (1824). Type: South Africa, Cape of Good Hope, Bowie, cultivated from specimens
received in 1823.
H. tomentosa Lam.: 182 (1789). Cap de Bonne-Esperance, without further details.
Taxonomic Treatment
229
H. villosa L.f. var. fimbriata Nel: 310 (1914). Type: Eastern Cape, Riversdale, Schlechter 1788 (BOL!, Z!).
H. villosa L.f. var. scabra (Lodd.) Baker: 114 (1878b); Baker: 184 (1896). Type: South Africa, Mossel Bay,
Burchell 6307 (K).
Small, soft, silky-white herb, 60–150 mm high, growing singly. Rhizome oblong to globose, 30–55
x 20–40 mm, with a few contractile roots, arising above middle, crowned by leaves and a mass of
bristles from remains of old leaves, white inside. Leaves few, 4–7, tightly arranged one above the
other in three ranks, moderately firm in texture, lanceolate, sometimes linear-lanceolate, 150–175(–
200) x (6–)10–20 mm, sickle-shape (falcate), recurving, folded together along the length
(conduplicate) towards base, obliquely twisting towards apex; veins 18–20, flush with the surface,
one to two near each margin slightly thickened and raised on upper surface, sparse to densely on
margins; hairs forming thin layer on lower surface, soft, silky-white, stellate (4–6 arms); arms unequal
in length, shorter arms 0.7–1 mm long, longer arms 2–2.5 mm long, usually stacked one above the
other in two rows opposite each other and parallel along the length of the leaf, appressed, occasionally
ascending, then shaggy. Inflorescence 3–6 per plant, appearing with leaves and produced sequentially,
corymbose, covered in long, soft brown (on drying) hairs in upper part; scapes slender, 70–120 x 1.5–
2 mm, flattened in cross section (ancipitous). Flowers 2–6(–10), basal two opposite, 1 or 2 upper tiers
with 2 or 3 flowers each; pedicels unequal in length bringing flowers to about the same height, 12–25
x 0.75–1 mm. Bract subulate, 6–20 mm long, hairy below. Tepals 3+3, yellow adaxially; outer tepals
elliptic, 8–10(–13) x 3–4 mm, pale green and densely hairy abaxially; inner tepals ovate-elliptic, 8–
12(–14) x 4–5 mm, yellow, green and sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with
filaments subulate, 2–3.5 mm long; anthers 2.5–4 mm long, sagittate, apex split. Ovary 2–3 mm long;
style 1.5–3 mm long; stigma pyramidal with 3 concave faces, 1.5–2 mm long. Capsule turbinate, 5–8
x 3–4 mm, opening by a circular slit, splitting longitudinally into 3 lobes. Seeds ovoid, 1.2–1.5 x 1–
1.2 mm, black, dull; testa papillate. Flowering time: October–April. Figure 12.32.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. villosa is recognised by its leaves arranged in three
ranks, corymbose inflorescences and hairs forming a silky-white layer on lower surface of leaves. The
species is most similar to H. sobolifera in its leaf arrangement and inflorescences. It differs from
H. sobolifera in hairs with arms in rows lying parallel to the length of the leaf, appressed and
remaining white on drying. In H. sobolifera, hairs are in distinct tufts, ascending, drying light- or redbrown. H. villosa can also be confused with H. argentea which has similar leaf hairs but the species
can be separated on their leaf shape and width; being linear and less than 6 mm wide in H. argentea,
and lanceolate and more than 6 mm wide in H. villosa.
Taxonomic Treatment
230
Distribution and ecology: H. villosa is a South African endemic, restricted to the Western Cape and
Eastern Cape from Swellendam in the south to Mkambati in the north (Figure 12.34AF). It has a
coastal distribution and occurs at low altitudes of 5–250 m above sea level. The species grows in open
grasslands in the east and fynbos in the west, in well-drained soil and full sun. It is known from very
few specimens.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: named from the Latin villosus meaning shaggy with long, soft ascending hairs probably
referring to those covering inflorescences in the species.
Common names: Golden winter star, sterretjie; inkbol (rhizomes were used by colonists as a source
of ink, hence the vernacular name).
Uses: Watt & Breyer-Brandwijk (1962) recorded that the rhizomes of H. villosa were used by the
Sotho as a charm against thunder.
Notes: H. villosa has been confused with H. sobolifera (Baker 1878b) and H. obtusa (Zimudzi
1996; Nordal 1997).
Vouchers: Muir 1326 (PRE); Thode A2766 (NH); Ecklon & Zeyher 270 (NBG); Zeyher 4138 (BOL, K).
15. Hypoxis obliqua Jacq., Collectaneorum Supplementum: 54 (1796), with illustrations in Icones
Plantarum Rariorum Ic. t. 371 (1786–1793); Schultes & Schultes: 766 (1830); Nel: 309 (1914). Type:
t. 317, icono! Epitype: South Africa, Somerset East, MacOwan 1594a (K!, NBG!).
H. villosa var. obliqua (Jacq.) Baker: 114 (1878b). Type: South Africa, Somerset East, MacOwan 1594a (K!).
Stout, tough, near-glabrous herb, 50–120 mm high, growing singly. Rhizome small, oblong, 40–50 x
25–40 mm, with a few stout contractile roots, crowned by leaves and a dense mass of bristles from
remains of old leaves. Leaves few, 5–8, lanceolate, 80–150 x (6–)10–25 mm, erect, twisting obliquely
towards apex; veins 9–10, slender, flush with surface, one to two near each margin thickened and
raised on upper surface, near-glabrous, margins and midrib on lower surface fringed with hairs
(ciliate) forming white band; hairs stellate (4–8 arms), white; arms needle-shaped, appressed, one to
two more strongly developed, short arms 0.5–1.2 mm long, longer arms 3–3.5 mm long, breaking off
Taxonomic Treatment
231
with age. Inflorescence 3–6 per plant, appearing with emergence of leaves, overtopping leaves,
racemose, more noticeable when flowers more than 2, covered with coarse, rigid (hispid) white hairs
in upper part; scape stiff, 80–150 x 1–2 mm, flattened in cross section (ancipitous). Flowers 2–7,
close to each other; pedicels short, stiff, 8–18(–35) x 0.7–1 mm, covered with coarse hairs (hispid).
Bract subulate, 4–10 mm long, hairy below. Tepals yellow adaxially; outer tepals elliptic, 9–10(–12)
x 2–3 mm, pale green and densely hairy abaxially; inner tepals ovate-elliptic, 8–10 x 2–4 mm, yellow,
green and sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments subulate, 1–2 mm long;
anthers ± 3 mm long, sagittate, apex slightly split. Ovary 6–7 mm; style 1–2 mm long, stigma
pyramidal with 3 concave faces, 3 mm long. Capsule oblong or turbinate, 7–10 x 4–6 mm, opening by
a circular slit. Seeds ovoid to subglobose, 1.5–1.8 x 1.1–1.5 mm, black, dull; testa papillate.
Flowering time: September–December. Figure 12.21.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. obliqua is a distinct species, recognised by its stiff
leaves, twisting towards apex, ciliate margins and coarsely hairy inflorescences. The species is most
similar to H. interjecta in having broadly lanceolate glabrous leaves and coarsely hairy inflorescences
but differs from H. interjecta in its leaf margins and midrib on lower surface outlined in white by
dense short hairs, racemose inflorescences and small flowers (tepals less than 12 mm). In H.
interjecta, leaves are completely glabrous, inflorescences corymbose and flowers large with tepals
more than 12 mm long.
Distribution and ecology: H. obliqua occurs in South Africa and Lesotho. In South Africa, it occurs
in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal with a coastal to inland distribution. It extends from Port
Elizabeth in the south to Zululand in the north (Figure 12.34U). H. obliqua grows in open rocky
grasslands, in well-drained soil and full sun. The species is found from altitudes of 500 to 1800 m
above sea level.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: Named from the Latin obliquus referring to oblique twist of leaves towards the apex.
Common names: Oblique-leaved hypoxis, ixalanxa (Xhosa).
Uses: Water boiled in hollowed out rhizomes of H. obliqua was used to dress septic wounds (Wright
1963). H. obliqua is an excellent species to propagate, as it produces up to seven small flowers which
Taxonomic Treatment
232
provide a bright display, and like most members of Hypoxis, it is hardy, requiring little care in the
summer rainfall region of southern Africa.
Vouchers: Bester 1343 (PRU); Goossens 190, 193 (PRE); Hilliard & Burtt 19051 (NU); MacOwan 1594a
(NBG); Singh 512 (NH).
16. Hypoxis zeyheri Baker, Journal of the Linnean Society, Botany 17: 112 (1878b); Baker: 181
(1896). Type: South Africa, Cape Colony, Ecklon & Zeyher 7 (TCD, holo, image!, P!).
Small, glabrous herb, 50–100 mm high, growing singly. Rhizome small, oblong, 20–40 x 10–20
mm, with a few stout contractile roots, crowned by leaves and a mass of fibrous bristles from remains
of old leaves. Leaves few, 5–8, stacked loosely one above the other in three ranks, erect or recurving,
lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, 80–120 x 5–25 mm, sickle-shaped (falcate), folded together along the
length (conduplicate) towards the base, tapering to a narrow point (acuminate); veins 10–20, slender,
flush with surface, one to three near each margin thickened and raised on upper surface, nearglabrous; hairs indistinct,  evenly spaced along margins and midrib on lower surface, predominantly
stellate (4 or 5 arms) with few bifurcate, white or lightly brown, one or more arms more strongly
developed, shorter arms 0.5–0.8 mm long, longer arm 1–1.5 mm long, loosely ascending, caducous.
Inflorescence 2–7 per plant, appearing with leaves and produced sequentially in growing season,
corymbose, covered with sparse long, soft, white (brown on drying) hairs; scape slender, 80–120 x
0.5–1.0 mm, flattened in cross section (ancipitous), hairy in upper part. Flowers 2–5, lower tier with 2
flowers, opposite, upper tier with 1–3 flowers; pedicels slender, 15–50 x 0.5–0.75 mm. Bract
subulate, 7–15 mm long, hairy below. Tepals yellow adaxially; outer tepals elliptic, 6–10 x 3–4 mm,
pale green and sparsely hairy adaxially; inner tepals ovate-elliptic, 5–10 x 4–5 mm, yellow, green and
sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments subulate, 1.2–2 mm long; anthers
1.8–2.5 mm long, sagittate, apex entire or split. Ovary 3–4 mm long; style 0.5–0.6 mm long; stigma
pyramidal with 3 concave faces, 1.6–2 mm long. Capsule turbinate-oblong, 4–8 x 3–4 mm, opening
by a circular slit, splitting longitudinally into 3 lobes. Seeds ovoid, 1.1–1.5 x 0.6–0.8 mm black,
glossy or dull; testa papillate. Flowering time: October–April. Figure 12.33.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. zeyheri is distinct in having glabrous, lanceolate, leaves
and corymbose inflorescences with slender, flexible pedicels. The species is most closely related to H.
angustifolia var. buchananii in its leaves and inflorescences but differs in distribution and type of leaf
hairs. In H. angustifolia var. buchananii, leaves are sparsely hairy throughout (pilose) and hairs
mostly bifurcate while in H. zeyheri, hairs are restricted to leaf margins and midrib on lower surface,
Taxonomic Treatment
233
and are stellate, breaking off with age. H. zeyheri may also be confused with H. obliqua in having
smooth, glabrous leaf blades. However, in H. obliqua, leaf margins and midrib on lower surface are
fringed with short hairs and inflorescences are racemose with short, stiff pedicels which is distinctive
in the species in comparison to the corymbose inflorescences with long, flexible pedicels in H.
zeyheri.
Distribution and ecology: H. zeyheri is a South African endemic, occurring in the Eastern Cape,
from Grahamstown in the south to Maclear in the north (Figure 12.34AG). It has a coastal and inland
distribution. The species grows in well-drained or marshy soil and at altitudes of 15 to 1400 m. It
appears to be rare.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: named in honour of Carl Zeyher (1799–1858), botanical collector who travelled widely
collecting specimens in South Africa.
Common names: Small yellow star, sterretjies.
Vouchers: Ecklon 4134 (BOL); Gibbs Russell 3420 (PRE); MacOwan 1898 (NBG); Germishuizen 1185
(PRE); Singh 526 (NH).
17. Hypoxis gerrardii Baker, Journal of the Linnean Society, Botany 17: 110 (1878b); Baker: 181
(1896); Nel: 306 (1914); Burtt: 188 (1988). Type: South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Zululand, Gerrard
& McKen 1827 (NH, holo!, BM!, K!, P!).
H. junodii Baker: 859 (1901) as junoidi. Type: South Africa, Pinetown, Junod 157 (Z!).
Slender, hairy, dark green herb, 80–200 mm high, growing singly. Rhizome deep seated, small,
oblong, 10–25 x 8–15 mm, with a few contractile roots, crowned by leaves and a mass of fine bristles,
white inside. Leaves few, 6–7(–10), loosely arranged in three ranks, sometimes clasping in short,
slender false stem when leaves elongate, linear (40–)80–150(–300) x 3–8(–11) mm, rigid in texture,
flat or subterete; veins 6–8, one or two near each margin strongly thickened and raised on upper
surface, straw-coloured, sparse or densely covered in long, weak hairs, compact on margins; hairs
bifurcate, white or brown; arms needle-shaped of unequal length, shorter arms 0.5–0.6 mm long,
longer arm 0.8–1 mm long, ascending in the shape of V or U, appressed on margins, lying parallel
Taxonomic Treatment
234
along the length of the leaf in the direction of apices, occasionally ascending, then appearing shaggy.
Inflorescence 2–5 per plant, appearing with leaves and produced sequentially throughout growing
season, corymbose, densely covered in long, weak, needle-shaped, white or brown hairs in upper part,
often furry brown; scape slender, 8–20 x 1–1.5 mm, flattened in cross section (ancipitous). Flowers
2–5(–7); pedicels slender, (12–)20–30 mm long, hairy. Bract subulate, 4–12 mm long, hairy below.
Tepals yellow adaxially; outer tepals narrowly elliptic, 7–9 x 3–4 mm, pale green and densely hairy
adaxially; inner tepal elliptic, 7–8 x 2.5–3.5 mm, yellow, green and sparsely hairy along midrib
abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments subulate, 1–2 mm long; anthers ± 3 mm long, sagittate, apex
split. Ovary 4 mm long; style 1–2 mm long, stigma pyramidal with 3 concave faces, 3 mm long.
Capsule turbinate, 3–8 x 2–4 mm, opening by a circular slit, splitting longitudinally into 3 lobes.
Seeds ovoid to globose, 1 x 0.8–1 mm, black, dull, testa papillate with brown micropapillae.
Flowering time: September–March. Figure 12.12.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. gerrardii is recognised by its slender habit, narrow,
rigid leaves with an even distribution of bifurcate hairs and corymbose, brown usually furry
inflorescences. The species is most closely related to H. argentea in habit, leaves and inflorescences
and is often confused with H. argentea var. sericea in having bifurcate hairs. However, in H.
gerrardii, hairs are short, stiff, needle-shaped, ascending to form a V or U. H. argentea var. sericea
differs in having long, weak hairs, with arms mostly appressed, lying opposite each other, more
noticeable on the margins and midrib below. Like in most Hypoxis species, variation in leaf
dimensions was noted in H. gerrardii. Tall, slender habit and linear leaves are typical in the species,
but in some populations (Singh & Baijnath 271 in NH; Wood 74 in J, NU), shorter plants, with linearlanceolate leaves were recorded and the variation may relate to start of the growing season. These
plants display hair and inflorescence characters typical of the species.
Distribution and ecology: H. gerrardii occurs in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. In South
Africa, it has been recorded in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, with a concentration in the
midlands and uplands of KwaZulu-Natal (Figure 12.34L). The species grows in open grasslands,
usually on rocky slopes, in full sun and at altitudes of 500 to 2300 m. It grows sympatrically with H.
argentea, H. costata, H. filiformis and H. galpinii and H. multiceps.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: named in honour of William Gerrard (?–ca.1866), naturalist and traveller, collected
along the coast and inland in KwaZulu-Natal.
Taxonomic Treatment
235
Common names: Small yellow star, inkomfe (Zulu).
Uses: The Zulu prepares a decoction from the rhizomes to treat stomach aches like gripe and
dysentery (Hulme 1954).
Notes: Nel (1914) reduced H. junodii under H. dregei Baker. H. dregei is synonymous with
H. argentea var. sericea. This study confirms the observation by Burtt (1988) that H. junodii is
conspecific with H. gerrardii.
Vouchers: Bayliss 2547 (NBG); Wood 74 (NH); Gordon-Gray 107 (NU); Rudatis 1748 (PRE); Singh &
Baijnath 419 (NH).
18. Hypoxis argentea Harv. ex Baker, Journal of the Linnean Society, Botany 17: 110 (1878b);
Baker in Thiselton-Dyer: 181 (1896); Nel: 305 (1914). South Africa, Eastern Cape, Grahamstown,
MacOwan 50 (K, lecto., selected here, SAM, GRA, isolecto!).
Slender, silvery-white herb, 70–100 mm high, growing singly. Rhizome small, deep seated, oblong,
two to three times as long as wide, 20–30 mm x 10–15 mm, with few contractile roots, crowned by
leaves and a sparse to dense mass of fine bristles, white inside, Leaves few 4–7(–10), clasping at base
to form a slender false stem wrapped in a membranous brown tunic, arranged loosely in three ranks,
linear, (–35)50–200 x 3–6 mm, slightly broader and folded together along the length (conduplicate)
towards base, erect or recurving; veins 8–10, flush with surface, one to two near each margin strongly
thickened and raised on upper surface, straw-coloured, drying grey-white, sparse to densely hairy,
mainly on lower surface and margins; hairs bifurcate or stellate (3–6 arms), long, soft, weak, silky,
closely pressed (sericeous), white or yellow-brown; arms ± 1.5 mm long, appressed, usually stacked
one above the other in two rows opposite each other and parallel along the length of the leaf,
appressed, occasionally ascending, then appearing shaggy. Inflorescence 1–6 per plant, produced
sequentially throughout growing season, corymbose, covered with soft, long, white hairs in upper
part; scape slender, 30–200 x 1 mm, flattened in cross section (ancipitous). Flowers 1–5; pedicels
slender, 10–30(–40) x 0.5 mm when flowers open. Bract subulate, 0.5–1.2 mm long, hairy below.
Taxonomic Treatment
236
Tepals 3+3, yellow adaxially; outer tepals narrowly elliptic, 6–10 x 2–3 mm, green and hairy
abaxially; inner tepals ovate-elliptic, 5–9 x 2.5–3 mm, yellow, green and sparsely hairy along midrib
abaxially, sometimes midrib red striped. Stamens 3+3, with filaments subulate, 1–2 mm long; anthers
2–3 mm long, saggitate, apex split. Ovary 3–4 mm, long style 1–1.5 mm long; stigma pyramidal with
3 concave faces, 0.5–2.5 mm long. Capsule turbinate, 3–5 x 2.5–3 mm, opening by circular slit,
splitting longitudinally into 3 lobes. Seeds ovoid, 1–1.2 x 0.8–1 mm, black, glossy, testa papillate.
Flowering time: August–March.
18a. var. argentea
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. argentea can be recognised by its slender habit,
narrow, silvery-white leaves and corymbose inflorescences. The species is similar to H. gerrardii in a
number of characters but is separated on leaf hairs. See discussion under H. gerrardii on how to
separate the species. H. argentea may also be confused with H. filiformis in their slender, subterete
leaves but in H. argentea, hairs are long, weak and appressed lying parallel to leaf length, and
inflorescences are corymbose with usually more than three flowers. In H. filiformis, leaf hairs are
scattered along margins, ascending and inflorescences are racemose and mostly two-flowered. As in
H. sobolifera and H. rigidula, two varieties are recognised in H. argentea, based on hair density.
Variety sericea differs from the typical variety in being less hairy, especially on leaf margins and the
lower surface while in var. argentea, hairs are compact on margins and lower surface. Figure 12.4.
Distribution and ecology: H. argentea var. argentea occurs in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.
It is found in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Mpumalanga and Gauteng,
with a coastal and inland distribution (Figure 12.34D). The species grows in open grasslands on welldrained hill slopes and full sun. It occurs at altitudes of 20 to 1000 m above sea level and is common
across its range, growing sympatrically with most species of Hypoxis.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: named from the Latin argenteus meaning silvery, referring to the silvery shine caused
by the soft shiny hairs on the leaves.
Common names: Small yellow star-flower, star of Bethlehem, leihlo-khomo le leholo, lesikitlane
(Sesotho), ixalanxa (Xhosa), inongwe (Xhosa, Zulu), isinana (Zulu), kaffertulp (Afrikaans).
Taxonomic Treatment
237
Uses: Noted as having a few uses among African people (Watt & Breyer-Brandwijk 1962).
Rhizomes used by Xhosa as famine food and to make an oil to anoint chafes on horses. The Sotho
prepare an ointment from the rhizome to treat cracks on teats of cows. It is also used in African
medicine in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Vouchers: Bayliss 2135 (NBG); Brynard 297 (PRE); Cloete 691 (KEI, NH); Germishuizen 1460 (PRE); Singh
490, 650 (NH).
18b. var. sericea (Baker) Baker in Thiselton-Dyer, Flora Capensis 6: 182 (1896); Retief &
Herman: 69 (1997); Singh: 361 (2007). Type: South Africa, Eastern Uitenhage, Zeyher 950 (K, lecto.,
image!, BM!).
H. sericea Baker: 111 (1878b). Type: South Africa, Uitenhage, Zeyher 950 (K! BM!, BOL!, NBG!).
H. sericea Baker var. dregei Baker: 112 (1878b), in part based on Drège 8525; Singh: 361 (2007). Type:
South Africa, Eastern Cape, Stockenstrom, Drège 8525 (K, lecto!; BM, isolecto!).
H. sericea Baker var. flaccida Baker: 112 (1878b). Type: South Africa, Albany, South Africa, Free State,
‘Seven Fountains’, Burke s.n. (K!).
H. dinteri Nel: 302 (1914). Type: Namibia, Otavital, Dinter 634 (B, holo!, NBG!).
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. argentea var. sericea differs from var. argentea in
having hairs scattered in channels between veins on leaves, unlike in var. argentea where the leaf
hairs are closely pressed forming a layer on the lower surface. H. argentea var. sericea may also be
confused with H. gerrardii, both having sparsely hairy leaves but in H. gerrardii, hairs are short, stiff,
needle-shaped and ascending in a V- or U-shape while in H. argentea var. sericea, hairs are long,
weak and appressed, more noticeable on the margins and midrib below. H. argentea also lacks the
brown, furry inflorescences common in H. gerrardii. Figure 12.5.
Distribution and ecology: H. argentea var. sericea occurs in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and
is known from a single specimen in Namibia. It is found in all provinces of South Africa, except the
Northern Cape (Figure 12.34E). It is likely that it extends into tropical Africa, in Tanzania (see notes
for details). Like H. argentea var. argentea, the taxon grows in open grasslands, in well-drained soil
and full sun, at altitudes 40 to 1000 m above sea level. It is often found growing with H. argentea var.
argentea and a number of other species of Hypoxis.
Taxonomic Treatment
238
Conservation status: Lower risk-Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: Named from the Latin sericeus meaning silky with long, straight closely pressed glossy
hairs in reference to the leaves in the taxon.
A study of specimens from EA indicates that specimens Guebson 947 collected in Nachingwea and
Robertson 374A from the Nguru Mountains, both in Tanzania, are similar to H. argentea var. sericea.
Wiland-Szymańska (2001), recorded for the first time that H. dinteri also occurs in the Democratic
Republic of Congo and Zambia. Unfortunately, the specimens cited by Wiland-Szymańska from BR
and MO were not examined and it was therefore not possible to confirm if these may be classified as
H. argentea var. sericea.
Vouchers: Tyson 1095 (GRA, NBG); Acocks 12960 (NH); Acocks 17902 (PRE); Reid 130 (PRE); Singh 570,
648 (NH).
19. Hypoxis parvifolia Baker, in Thiselton-Dyer, Flora Capensis 6: 183 (1896); Nel: 307 (1914), as
“parviflora”; Compton: 131 (1976); Retief & Herman: 70 (1997). Type: South Africa, Mpumalanga,
Barbeton, Saddleback Range, Galpin 1059 (K, holo!; BOL!, NBG!, NH!).
Small soft, hairy herb, 50–60 mm high, growing singly. Rhizome small, oblong, 10–30 x 5–15 mm,
with a few stout contractile roots, crowned by leaves and a few fine bristles from remains of old
leaves. Leaves few, 4–8, bases wrapped in membranous, brown tunic, linear, sometimes linearlanceolate, 40–100 x 5–6 mm, folded together along the length (conduplicate) towards the base,
tapering to a narrow apex, yellow on drying; veins 4–6, flush with surface, one to two near each
margin thickened and raised on upper surface, sparsely to densely hairy on both surfaces; hairs
predominately bifurcate, stellate (4 or 5 arms) on margins, U-shaped, almost at 900 to surface (patent),
needle-shaped, white; arms short, 0.3–0.5 mm long, one or two more strongly developed, 0.7 mm
long. Inflorescence 1(2) per plant, appearing before or with leaves, corymbose, covered in white or
yellow long hairs; scape taller than leaves, 60–130 x 0.75–1.2 mm, flattened in cross section
(ancipitous). Flowers 1 or 2(3); pedicels short, 5–15 x 1–1.5 mm. Bract subulate, 4–10 mm long,
hairy below. Tepals 3+3, yellow adaxially, outer tepals narrowly elliptic, 8–10 x 3–5 mm, pale green
and densely hairy abaxially; inner tepals ovate-elliptic, 9–10(–13) x 5–7 mm, yellow, green and
sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments subulate, 2–3 mm long; anthers 3–
4 mm long, sagittate, apex entire or slightly split. Ovary 2–3 mm long; style 1.5–2 mm long; stigma
pyramidal with 3 concave faces, 0.5 mm long. Capsule turbinate, 3–5 x 2–3 mm, opening by a
Taxonomic Treatment
239
circular slit. Seeds globose, 1–1.5 mm in diameter, black, glossy; testa papillate. Flowering time:
August-December (occasionally in March-May). Figure 12.23.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. parvifolia is distinct in having few, dwarf leaves with
striking patent U-shaped hairs and usually single weak inflorescence with mostly two flowers.
H. parvifolia is closely related to H. kraussiana in its hairs but is separated from H. kraussiana by its
dwarf, flat leaves with indistinct veins. In H. kraussiana, leaves are tall, subterete and strongly ribbed.
The species may also be confused with smaller plants of H. costata in its linear-lanceolate leaves,
bifurcate hairs and two flowered inflorescences. It differs in lacking the strongly ribbed leaf
characteristic of H. costata.
Distribution and ecology: H. parvifolia occurs in South Africa and Swaziland. In South Africa, the
species occurs in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Free State (Figure 12.34W). It extends into tropical
Africa, where it occurs in Zimbabwe and Malawi. H. parvifolia associated with high mountain areas
at altitudes of 1300 to 2500 m above sea level. The species grows in open grasslands, on slopes and
rock crevices, in full sun and well-drained soil or muddy ground. The species may be more plentiful
in southern Africa, but like H. flanaganii and H. floccosa is possibly overlooked in the field due to its
small size.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: Named from the Latin parvitas (smallness) and folia (leaf) indicating a species with
small leaves.
Vouchers: Compton 26991 (NBG, PRE); Compton 32165 (PRE); Jacobs 2982 (PRE); Kerfoot K8360 (J);
Moss 15426 (J).
20. Hypoxis flanaganii Baker, in Thiselton-Dyer in Flora Capensis 6: 179 (1896); Nel: 301 (1914).
Type: South Africa, Eastern Cape, Komga, Flanagan 314 (K, holo!, NBG!, PRE!).
Diminutive, sparsely hairy herb, 30–50 mm high, growing singly. Rhizome oblong to subglobose, 10–
20 x 7–10 mm, with a few contractile roots; crowned by leaves, devoid of bristles, white inside.
Leaves few, 4–7, bases wrapped in membranous, brown tunic, linear, 40–70 x 2–3 mm, erect or semierect, V-shaped, sometimes red at base; veins 8–10, flush with surface, one near each margin slightly
thickened and raised on upper surface, sparsely hairy on both surface, mainly on margins and midrib
Taxonomic Treatment
240
on lower surface; hairs bifurcate intermingled with few stellate (3–8 arms) on margins, white or light
brown, ascending; arms 0.5–1 mm long, one or two more strongly developed, up to 1.8 mm long.
Inflorescence 1(–3) per plant, corymbose, hairy in upper part; scapes as tall as leaves, 10–25 mm
long, subterete. Flowers 1 or 2; pedicels slender, 15–25 mm long. Bracts 2, even when flowers
solitary indicating reduction in a flower, subulate, 4–8 mm long. Tepals 3+3, small, inner and outer
narrowly elliptic, about equal in size, 4–6 x 1.5–2 mm, yellow adaxially; outer tepals pale green and
hairy adaxially; inner tepals yellow, green and sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially, sometimes
midrib red striped. Stamens 3+3, with filaments subulate, 1–2 mm long; anthers 1.2–1.5 mm long,
sagittate, apex split. Ovary ± 2 mm long; style ± 2 mm long, stigma pyramidal with 3 concave faces,
± 1.4 mm long. Capsule oblong or subglobose, 2–3 x 2 mm, opening by a circular slit, splitting
longitudinally into 3 lobes. Seeds ovoid to globose, 1–1.2 x 0.8–1 mm, black, glossy; testa papillate.
Flowering time: September–December. Figure 12.9.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. flanaganii is the smallest member in Hypoxis. It has
few short, very narrow sparsely hairy leaves and inflorescences usually solitary with one or two tiny
flowers. In habit, H. flanaganii is close to H. floccosa, but differs in its leaves being less hairy with
hairs bifurcate and white. In H. floccosa leaves and inflorescences are densely hairy with the hairs
stellate and red-brown.
Distribution and ecology: H. flanaganii is endemic to South Africa, being restricted to the Western
Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. It occurs along the coast from Bredasdorp in the Western
Cape and just reaches KwaZulu-Natal, where it is known only from a single specimen, collected in
the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve (Nicholson 1693, PRE) [Figure 12.34I]. Populations of H. flanaganii
are found in rocky outcrops in fynbos, thicket and grasslands where the vegetation is sparse or lowgrowing. By growing among rocks, the tiny plants are offered protection from wind. The species
grows at altitudes of 15–500 m. Plants are abundant at sites where they have been collected. However,
there are very few collections of the species and it is therefore difficult to assess its full range of
distribution and variation. Like H. floccosa, due to its small stature and tiny flowers, the species is
easily overlooked during fieldwork.
Conservation status: Data Deficient (DD). Probably more abundant than reflected by in collections.
Etymology: named in honour of Henry Flanagan (1861–1919) who actively collected plants from
Komga and Kei River Mouth in the Eastern Cape Province.
Taxonomic Treatment
241
Vouchers: Fourcade 895 (BOL, PRE); Nicholson 1693 (PRE); Schlechter 7731 (GRA, NH); Schönberg 2795
(GRA, PRE); Singh 807 (NH).
21. Hypoxis floccosa Baker, Kew Bulletin: 357 (1894); Baker in Thiselton-Dyer: 181 (1896); Nel:
303 (1914); Singh: 362 (2007). Type: South Africa, Western Cape, Swellendam, Bolus 7469 (BOL,
holo!; K!).
H. ecklonii Baker: 859 (1901) [as eckloni]; Nel: 307 (1914). Type: South Africa, Western Cape, Zwarteberg,
Ecklon & Zeyher 4136 (K, image! B!, Z!).
Diminutive, densely hairy herb, 50–70 mm high, growing singly. Rhizome oblong to subglobose,
20–25 x 10–15 mm in diameter, with a few contractile roots, crowned by leaves, devoid of bristles,
white inside. Leaves few, 6–7, bases wrapped in membranous, brown tunic, linear, 50–100 x 2–4 mm,
erect or semi-erect, subterete or flat; veins 8–10, slender, flush with surface, one near each margin
slightly thickened and raised on upper surface, margins and lower surface covered densely in long,
soft hairs (floccose); hairs stellate (4–8 arms) intermingled with few bifurcate, white turning redbrown on drying; arms of unequal length, short 0.5–1.2 mm long, one or two more strongly
developed, 2–3 mm long. Inflorescence 2(–4) per plant, corymbose; scapes as tall as or shorter than
leaves, 40–80 mm long. Flowers 2, sometimes 1; pedicels long, slender, 15–25 mm long. Bract
subulate, 4–10 mm long, hairy below. Tepals 3+3, small, inner and outer narrowly elliptic, about
equal in size, 6–7 x 2.5–3.0 mm yellow adaxially; outer tepals pale green and densely hairy abaxially,
inner tepals yellow, green and sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments
subulate, 1.5–2.0 mm long; anthers 1.5–2 mm long, sagittate, apex split. Ovary 2–3 mm long; style
0.5–0.6 mm long, stigma pyramidal with 3 concave faces, 1.5–2 mm long. Capsule turbinate or
subglobose, 2–4 x 1.5–2 mm, opening by a circular slit, splitting longitudinally into 3 lobes. Seeds
ovoid to globose, 1–1.2 x ±1 mm, black, glossy; testa papillate. Flowering time: November–May.
Figure 12.10.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. floccosa is recognised by its small stature, leaves
covered in dense, soft, red-brown hairs, and weak scapes with slender pedicels bearing one or two
tiny flowers. Leaf hairs in H. floccosa are predominantly stellate. In leaf and inflorescences
characters, H. floccosa is closely related to H. flanaganii, but is separated from H. flanaganii by its
stellate hairs, radiating loosely from the centre in a tuft and turning red-brown on drying, giving
plants a dirty brown furry appearance. In H. flanaganii, hairs are predominantly bifurcate. The tufted
red-brown hairs in H. floccosa is similar to those in H. sobolifera but the leaves in H. floccosa are
Taxonomic Treatment
242
small and linear while H. sobolifera has large, lanceolate leaves.
Distribution and ecology: H. floccosa is a South African endemic, restricted to the Western Cape
and Eastern Cape from Swellendam to Stutterheim (Figure 12.34J). It grows in open areas in fynbos
and grassland, in well-drained soil, full sun and at altitudes of 50 to 600 m above sea level. Known
from very few collections, none from recent years.
Conservation status: Data Deficient (DD). Probably more abundant than reflected by collections.
Etymology: named from the Latin floccosus (with tufts of soft hairs) relating to the appearance of
woolly hairs on leaves.
Common names: sterretjie (Afrikaans).
Vouchers: Bolus 7469 (BOL); Ecklon & Zeyher 4136 (BOL); Lewis 3009 (NBG); Sim 665 (NU); Gillet 885
(PRE).
22. Hypoxis kraussiana Buchinger ex Baker, Journal of the Linnean Society, Botany 17: 109
(1878b); Baker in Thiselton-Dyer: 180 (1896); Wood: 132 (1907); Nel: 306 (1914). Type: South
Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, hills near Pietermaritzburg, Krauss 104 (BM holo!, BOL!, PRE!).
Hypoxis neliana Schinz: 136 (1926). Type: South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, mountains near Estcourt,
Schlechter 3348 (BOL!, K!, GRA!, PRE!).
Slender, erect hairy herb, 70–100 mm high, growing singly. Rhizome small, oblong, 10–20 x 7–15
mm, crowned by leaves and a dense mass of bristles from remains of old leaves, white inside. Leaves
few, 4–6, linear, 50–250 x 2–4 mm, subterete; veins 8–12, close to each other, uniformly thickened
and raised on upper surface (ribbed) sparse to densely hairy; hairs with an even distribution on blade,
dense on margins and midrib on lower surface, bifurcate or stellate (4–6 arms), U-shaped, curling into
rings, sharply pointed (needle-shaped), ascending, yellow; arms 0.3–0.6 mm long, one or two more
strongly developed, 1.2–2.5 mm long, breaking off with age. Inflorescence 1 or 2 per plant; racemose,
covered with short, yellow hairs in upper part; scape wiry, 60–150 x 1 mm. Bract subulate, 4–10 mm
long, hairy below. Flowers 2(3), pedicels short, 5–10 mm long. Tepals 3+3, yellow adaxially; outer
tepals, elliptic, 8–9 x 2–3 mm, pale green and densely hairy adaxially; inner tepals ovate-elliptic, 7–8
x 3–4 mm, yellow, green and sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments
subulate, 2–3 mm long; anthers 3–5 mm long, sagittate, apex slightly split. Ovary 3–4 mm long; style
Taxonomic Treatment
243
0.5–1 mm long; stigma pyramidal with 3 concave faces; 1.2–2.5 mm long. Capsule turbinate, 3 x 2.5
mm, opening by a circular slit. Seeds ovoid ± 1.2 x 0.7 mm; black, glossy; testa papillate. Flowering
time: October–December. Figure 12.15.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. kraussiana is recognised by its narrow, strongly ribbed,
leaves and short, yellow, U-shaped hairs curling into rings. It is closely related to H. filiformis in its
slender leaves and wiry two-flowered scapes, but differs in having squat stellate hairs on margins and
midrib on lower surface. In H. filiformis, leaves are lightly covered in long, weak hairs throughout
(pilose) and hairs are white. Further, in H. kraussiana inflorescences are densely hairy appearing
yellow from the colour of hairs, while in H. filiformis, inflorescences are sparsely hairy.
Distribution and ecology: H. kraussiana is a South African endemic, with a coast to inland
distribution. It occurs in KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Limpopo (Figure
12.34O). The species grows in open rocky grasslands, on mountain slopes in well-drained soil and
full sun. Like H. parvifolia, it grows at high altitudes of 1200 to 2000 m above sea level.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Least Concern (LRlc). Wood 130 (in NU) recorded a large
population along the Himeville Road. Such populations are threatened by rapidly expanding
development and agriculture in the province.
Etymology: named in honour of Christian Krauss (1799–1858), scientist, traveller and collector who
collected from the Western Cape, through the Eastern Cape into KwaZulu-Natal.
Vouchers: Allsopp 911 (NH, NU); Ngwenya 1607 (NH); Robertson 12 (NU); Saltmarshe 984 (NBG); Singh
636 (NH).
23. Hypoxis filiformis Baker, Journal of the Linnean Society, Botany 17: 109 (1878b); Baker in
Thiselton-Dyer: 180 (1896); Nel: 305 (1914); Compton: 130 (1976); Zimudzi: 15 (1996); Nordal &
Zimudzi: 10–11. Type: South Africa, Eastern Cape Province, Queenstown, Cooper 462 (K, holo!, B!,
BM!)
H. caespitosa Baker: 858 (1901). Type: South Africa, Gauteng, Pretoria, Fehr s.n. (Z!).
H. dregei (Baker) Nel: 306 (1914); Burtt: 188 (1988). Type: South Africa, Eastern Cape, Kaffraria, Cooper
1811 (K, lecto!).
Taxonomic Treatment
244
Slender, wiry, lightly hairy herb, 50–150 mm high, growing singly. Rhizome oblong or globose, 10–
20 mm in diameter or 1½ times longer than wide, crowned by leaves and a mass of strong bristles
from remains of old leaves, white inside. Leaves few, 4–7, bases wrapped in membranous, brown
tunic, erect, rigid, subterete, 80–200 (300) x 2–3 mm, wiry, U-shaped in cross section; veins 4–11,
close to each other, uniformly thickened and raised on upper surface (ribbed), sparsely covered in
long, weak hairs (pilose); hairs mainly along margins and midrib on lower surface, predominantly
bifurcate with a few stellate (3 arms) intermingled, white; arms filiform, unequal in length, shorter
arms 0.8–1 mm; longer arms 1.5–2 mm, ascending, occasionally appressed on margins. Inflorescence
1–5 per plant, produced with leaves and sequentially in the growing season, racemose, covered with
long, weak white hairs; scapes shorter than or as tall as leaves, wiry, 40–300 x 1 mm, stiff, with
thickened venation as in leaves, subterete. Flowers 2(–4), one above the other, pedicels short, 5–15 x
1 mm when flowers open. Bract subulate, 4–10 mm long, hairy below. Tepals 3+3, occasionally 2+2,
outer and inner elliptic, about the same size, 4.5–9 x 1.8–4 mm, yellow adaxially, outer tepals green
and pilose adaxially, inner tepals yellow, green and sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially. Stamens
3+3, with filaments filiform; 2–2.5 mm long; anthers 1.8–2.3 mm long, sagittate, apex split. Ovary
2.0–2.5 mm long; style 0.5–1.5 mm long; stigma pyramidal with 3 concave faces, 0.5–1.8 mm long.
Capsule turbinate or globose, 4–5 x 2–3 mm, opening by a circular slit, splitting longitudinally into
three lobes. Seeds ovoid or globose, 1.5 x 1.2–1.4 mm, black, dull or shiny, testa papillate. Flowering
time: mostly from September to February, less frequently from March to May. Figure 12.8.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. filiformis is recognised by its erect, subterete, strongly
ribbed leaves and wiry inflorescences, mostly two-flowered and on very short pedicels. H. filiformis is
most closely related to H. kraussiana in its habit and leaves. It differs from H. kraussiana in having
long, weak, filiform hairs while in H. kraussiana, hairs are squat, stiff and needle-shape, curling into
rings. H. filiformis is also similar to H. longifolia in habit and two-flowered inflorescences. It differs
from H. longifolia in that it is a much smaller plant, with pilose leaves and tiny flowers (tepals less
than 10 mm long). In H. longifolia, leaves are near-glabrous, margins fringed with squat, stellate hairs
and flowers large (tepals more than 10 mm long).
Distribution and ecology: H. filiformis occurs in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. In South
Africa, it is found in all provinces, except the Western and Northern Cape, with a coastal and inland
distribution (Figure 12.34H). The species extends into tropical Africa, occurring in Zambia,
Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Uganda and
Tanzania. In southern Africa, H. filiformis grows in open grasslands, on drier hill slopes but are more
plentiful in damp areas. Hilliard & Burtt (1988) recorded collections of H. filiformis from the almost
Taxonomic Treatment
245
bare floor of a partially dried up pond. The species occurs across a wide altitude range from sea level
to 2500 m, and grows sympatrically with most grassland species of Hypoxis.
Conservation status: Lower Risk Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: named from the Latin filiformis (thread-like), describing the leaves.
Common names: Grass star-flower, moli-letsana (Sesotho), izinongwe (Zulu).
Vouchers: Compton 26129 (NBG, NH); Devenish 769 (PRE); Flanagan 1811 (NBG); Mauve 4506 (PRE
Singh 443 823 (NH)).
24. Hypoxis tetramera Hilliard & Burtt, Notes from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 41: 299
(1983). Type: KwaZulu-Natal, Underberg District, Hilliard & Burtt 13524 (E, holo; NU, iso!).
Short, wiry, sparsely hairy herb, 50–120 mm high, growing singly, flowers minute. Rhizome tiny,
oblong-globose, 6–8 x 4–7 mm, with very few contractile roots, crowned by leaves and few fine
bristles from remains of old leaves, white inside. Leaves few, 4–8, bases wrapped in membranous,
brown tunic, linear, 60–150 x 1–1.2 mm, subterete, sparsely covered; veins 10–12, flush with surface
or thickened and raised on upper surface, sparsely hairy; hairs bifurcate and stellate (3 or 4 arms),
filiform, 3–4 mm long, ascending, white. Inflorescence 1 or 2 per plant, covered with long, weak,
white hairs; scapes shorter than leaves, 25–60 x 0.5 mm, subterete, sometimes decumbent in fruiting.
Flowers 1(2), racemose; pedicels 4–6 mm long when flowers open. Bract subulate, 0.6–10 mm long,
hairy below. Tepals 2+2, rarely 3+3, minute, outer and inner elliptic, about equal in size, 4.5–5 x 1.5–
2 mm, yellow adaxially; outer tepals green and pilose abaxially; inner tepals yellow, green and
sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially green and sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially. Stamens 2+2,
rarely 3+3, with filaments filiform, 1.5–2 mm long; anthers 1 mm long, sagittate, apex minutely split.
Ovary 2 mm long; style 1 mm long; stigma pyramidal with 3 concave faces, 1 mm long. Capsule
globose or oblong, 4–6 x 2 mm. Seeds ovoid or globose, 0.5–1.0 x 0.5–0.1 mm, black, testa papillate,
Flowering time: November to January. Figure 12.31.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. tetramera is recognised by its subterete, lightly hairy
leaves and wiry inflorescences. Flowers in this species are diagnostic in that they are solitary, minute
and have only four tepals and stamens, instead of the usual six parts found in the genus. On the label
of specimen Hoener 1623 (in PRE), it is noted that the ‘number of perianth parts were variable 4, 5 or
Taxonomic Treatment
246
6 and number of stamens were variable 4, 5 or 6’. Most other sheets indicate four tepals. The species
is most closely related to H. filiformis in its habit and subterete leaves. It differs from H. filiformis in
the usually solitary flowers with four tepals. In H. filiformis, inflorescences bear 2 or 3 flowers with
six tepals, seldom four.
Distribution and ecology: H. tetramera is a South African endemic and occurs in KwaZulu-Natal
and Lesotho (Figure 12.34AE). It occurs on the Drakensberg Mountains and is associated with mud
pans that become submerged during periods of high water. The species occurs in grasslands, mainly
on the margin of mud pans, in full sun. H. tetramera is known from high altitudes 2000 to 2500 m.
Notes: Abbott 1660 (PRU, Umtamvuna Nature Reserve) has fine, thread-like leaves and could be
considered as the end of the range for width of leaves in H. tetramera. It could also represent
H. sagittata, a species excluded from this study.
Conservation status: Lower Risk Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: named from the Latin tetra (four) and Greek merus (parts or their number) in reference
to most flowers having four instead of six tepals, the latter being the prevailing state in Hypoxis.
Vouchers: Devenish 1336 (PRE); Guillarmod, Getliffe & Mzamane 274 (GRA); Hilliard & Burtt 16798 (NU);
Killick 3868 (PRE); Manning, Hilliard & Burtt 16011 (PRE).
25. H. nivea Y. Singh, Flowering Plants of Africa 60: 28 (2007) TYPE.—South Africa, KwaZuluNatal, Kranzkloof Nature Reserve, Singh 874 (NH, holo; K, PRE, PRU).
Slender, delicate herb, 70–120 mm high, lightly hairy, growing singly. Rhizome small, oblong, 8–10
mm in diameter or 1.5 times longer than wide, with few contractile roots; crowned with leaves and
few fine bristles from remains of old leaves; white inside. Leaves few, 4–7, bases wrapped in
membranous, white or brown tunic, linear, 70–150 × 4–12(–18) mm when flattened, pale green, paler
approaching white at base, forming an inverted W from above, semi-erect, flaccid, thin and
semitransparent against the light, apex browning in older leaves; veins 7–14, two near each margin
slightly thickened and raised on upper surface, sparsely hairy; hairs a mixture of simple and bifurcate
hairs, mostly along margins and midrib, filiform, soft, white. Inflorescence 1–5 per plant, corymbose,
covered with soft, white hairs; scapes as tall as or shorter than leaves, 50–80 × 1 mm. Flowers 2–4;
pedicels slender, 15–30 mm long. Bract subulate, 4–15 mm long. Tepals 3+3, white; outer tepals
Taxonomic Treatment
247
narrowly elliptic, 3–6 × 1.5–2.5 mm, green and hairy abaxially; inner tepals elliptic, 3.0–6.5 × 1.25–
2.00 mm, white, green and sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments
filiform, 1.5–3 mm long, white; anthers 1.0–2.5 mm long, yellow. Ovary subglobose, ± 1 mm in
diameter; style filiform, 2–4 mm long; stigma minute, spherical, 0.4–0.5 mm in diameter, minutely
lobed, white. Capsule turbinate, 2.0–2.5 × 2.5–3.0 mm, opening by a circular slit, splitting
longitudinally into 3 lobes. Seeds ovoid or globose, ± 1 mm in diameter, black, papillate. Flowering
time (September) October–November. Figure 12.20.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. nivea is easy to recognise by its membranous leaves
and by its small, white flowers. It is most closely related to H. angustifolia, from which it differs in its
smaller flowers, white flowers, thin-textured tepals, filiform filaments and style, and oblong to
spherical stigmas. In these characters, H. nivea is similar to H. membranacea and H. parvula var.
albiflora. In H. angustifolia, the flowers are yellow, tepals thicker, style subulate approaching filiform
and stigma pyramidal approaching spherical. H. nivea differs from H. membranacea in its narrow,
linear, smooth leaves. In H. membranacea, the leaves are lanceolate and the upper surface bears
translucent pustules that appear as dots to the naked eye. H. nivea can be separated from H. parvula
var. albiflora by its long, slender leaves lightly covered in hairs and by the scapes equal to or slightly
shorter than leaves, with two or three flowers per inflorescences. H. parvula is distinguished by its
short leaves, more dense leaves and flowers that are held singly on slender scapes, overtopping the
leaves.
Distribution and ecology: H. nivea is endemic to South Africa and occurs in the Eastern Cape and
KwaZulu-Natal. It extends from Kentani in the south to just north of Durban and displays a coastal
distribution (Figure 12.34T). Populations of H. nivea are found in shade in forest, growing on rocky
edges and ledges in shallow, well-drained soil. Leaves of plants in deeper shade are one and a half
times longer and wider than leaves of those in light shade. It is known from altitudes of 30 to 250 m
above sea level.
Conservation status: Lower risk-Near Threatened (LRnt) as it appears to be localised and rare.
Etymology: named from the Latin niveus (pure white) in reference to white flowers.
Common name: White star-flower.
Taxonomic Treatment
248
Uses: Like H. angustifolia, H. nivea has potential as a garden or pot plant; its dainty form and
white flowers are quite attractive.
Vouchers: Cloete 1251 (NH); Jordaan 952, 1118 (NH, PRE); Nicholas & Smook 2412 (K, KEI, NH, PRE);
Van Rooyen 2005 (PRE); Wood 771 (BOL, NH, K).
26. Hypoxis angustifolia Lam. Encyclopedia Méthodique Botany 3: 182 (1789); Schult.: 767
(1819); Fischer & C.A. Meyer: 49 (1845); Baker: 369 (1877); Baker: 111 (1878b); Baker in
Thiselton-Dyer: 180 (1896); Baker in Thiselton-Dyer: 378 (1898); Rendle in Hiern.: 31 (1899); Nel:
303 (1914) pro parte; Perrier de la Bathie: 10 (1950); Geerinck: 5, fig. pro parte (1971); Nordal et al.:
24 (1985); Zimudzi: 15 (1996); Nordal: 87 (1997); Retief & Herman: 69 (1997); Nordal & Zimudzi:
6–7 (2001); Wiland-Szymańska & Adamski: 145–147 (2002); Wiland-Szymańska & Nordal: 5
(2006); Singh: 361 (2007). Type: Mauritius, Commerson s.n. (P-LA, holo, image!).
H. biflora Baker: 181 (1876). Type: South Africa, Eastern Cape, Transkei, Baur 347 (K!).
Soft almost glabrous herb, 50–150 mm high, growing singly or in tufts forming large clumps.
Rhizome deep seated, small, oblong, up to 60 mm long, 1½ to 5 times longer than wide, with few
contractile roots, crowned with leaves and few fine bristles, proliferating by means of short stolons
giving rise to new rhizomes each bearing a shoot, white inside. Leaves few, 6–10, bases wrapped in a
membranous white or brown tunic, linear, 50–300 x 3–18 mm, arranged in three ranks in smaller
plants, hanging laxly in taller plants, erect or semi-erect, V- or inverted W-shaped in cross section,
grass-green, flaccid, membranous; veins 7–11, flush with surface, 2–4 near each margin slightly
thickened and raised on upper surface, sparsely covered in long, weak hairs (pilose) mainly scattered
along veins and margins; hairs simple, bifurcate or stellate (3 or 4 arms), filiform, 0.3–0.4 mm, one
arm more strongly developed 1½ to 2 times longer than rest, ascending, white. Inflorescence 1–4 per
plant, corymbose, lightly pilose; scapes as tall as or shorter than leaves, 5–20 x 0.5–1 mm, slender,
weak, flattened in cross section (ancipitous). Flowers 2–4(–6); pedicels slender, lax, unequal in length
bringing flowers to about same height, 4.5–6.0 mm long when flowers open. Bract subulate, 6–12
mm long, pilose below. Tepals 3+3 (rarely 4 or 8 in two whorls); yellow adaxially, outer tepals
elliptic or narrowly elliptic, 3.5–9 x 1.5–3.5 mm; inner tepals elliptic or ovate-elliptic, 4–10 x 2–4
mm, yellow, green and sparsely hairy along midrib abaxially, sometimes midrib red striped. Stamens
3+3, with filaments subulate, 1–3 mm long; anthers 1–3 mm long, sagittate, apex split. Ovary 2–4 mm
long; style 0.5–3 mm long, variable in shape, subulate or filiform; stigma pyramidal with 3 concave
faces, variable in shape, 0.5–2.5 mm long. Capsule turbinate, 4–10 x 2–5 mm, opening by a circular
Taxonomic Treatment
249
slit, then splitting longitudinally into 3 lobes. Seeds ovoid, 1–1.2 x 0.5–1.0 mm, black, glossy, testa
papillate. Flowering time: mostly November–January, less often March to October.
26a. var. angustifolia
H. lata Nel: 324 (1914). Syntypes: South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Van Reenen, Wood, 9646 (B!, NBG!);
South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Van Reenen, Wood, 6254 (B!, BM!, K!, NH!).
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. angustifolia is recognised by its soft appearance, leaves
grass green, membranous in texture and corymbose, lax inflorescences. H. angustifolia var.
angustifolia is separated from variety buchananii in growing as solitary plants, usually less than 120
mm tall, narrow leaves, 3–4 mm wide and two veins near each margin raised on the upper surface of
leaves. Variety buchananii includes plants growing in tufts, usually more than 120 mm tall, with
broad leaves, 8–18 mm wide and four veins near each margin prominent on upper surface. H.
angustifolia var. angustifolia is most similar to H. nivea in habit, leaf and inflorescence characters but
differs from H. nivea in its yellow flowers. Although variable in its ratio of filaments:anthers and
style:stigma and approaching the limits of H. nivea, filaments and style are predominantly subulate
and stigmas mostly pyramidal in southern African material of H. angustifolia, a character typical for
the genus. In H. nivea, flowers are white, filaments and style filiform and stigma oblong or spherical.
Further, H. angustifolia var. angustifolia is more widespread in southern Africa and occurs in
grassland, savanna and forest margins, while H. nivea is restricted to riverine forest habitats, in the
Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Figure 12.2.
Distribution and ecology: H. angustifolia var. angustifolia occurs in South Africa, Lesotho and
Swaziland. In South Africa it is found in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Mpumalanga
and Limpopo (Figure 12.34B). The variety has a coastal to inland distribution and occurs in grassland,
dune banks, shrubland and forest margins. It grows in full sun or partial shade in well-drained sandy
soil or marshy ground, forming strong populations in marshy depressions. The variety occurs at
altitudes of 15 to 1700 m above sea level. H. angustifolia var. angustifolia is also found in disturbed
areas like mowed patches, grazed fields and roadside banks where it becomes plentiful. With
elongation of leaves later in the season, plants appear much taller than at the start of the season.
Etymology: Named from the Latin angusti (narrow) and folia (leaf) in reference to its slender
leaves.
Taxonomic Treatment
250
Common names: Molinyana (Sesotho).
Conservation status: Lower Risk Least Concern (LRlc).
Notes: H. angustifolia is the most widespread species in Africa. It extends from the Eastern Cape
Province in South Africa to Ethiopia in the north. Varieties angustifolia and buchananii are known
only from southern Africa, while H. angustifolia var. luzuloides is known from Tropical Africa. The
fourth variety, H. madagascriensis is restricted to Madagascar. See Wiland-Szymańska & Adamski
(2002) for delimitation of varieties. These authors record H. angustifolia var. luzuloides (Robyns &
Tournay) Wiland as the most widespread species that occurs in intertropical and southern Africa,
Madagascar and the Mascarenes. During this study, specimens Moll 251 (in NBG), Chipinga,
Zimbabwe, Mulligan s.n. Jan. 1953 (GRA), Zambia and Groenedijk, Koning & Dungo 1063 (LMU),
Nampula, in the northern part of Mozambique were found to match the seeds described for var.
luzuloides. Other specimens Faden et al. 96/24, Vesey-FitzGerald 6152 and Renvoize & Ardallah
1531, all from Tanzanzia and in EA, also match var. luzuloides. However, no specimen of H.
angustifolia with a seed sculpture of var. luzuloides was found among the southern African material.
Therefore, the two varieties described by Baker (1878b) are upheld for southern Africa. It is possible
to separate the plants with leaves 3–4 mm wide as var. angustifolia and those with leaves more than 8
mm as var. buchananii.
Of note is a specimen Ash 2016 (EA) collected in Sire in Ethiopia that matches H. angustifolia var.
buchananii in habit and seed morphology. Such specimens were previously determined as H. villosa
which brought about the use of the name in tropical Africa. H. villosa is endemic to South Africa.
Such specimens require further study.
Uses: Rhizomes eaten by children in times of famine and used as toys in Kenya (Burkill 1994).
Vouchers: MacDevette 284 (NH); Nicholas 666 (PRE); Reid 525 (PRE); Singh 163 (NH); Snijman 1617
(NBG).
26b. var. buchananii Baker, Journal of the Linnean Society 17: 111 (1878b); Baker in ThiseltonDyer: 180 (1896); Retief & Herman: 69 (1997). Type: South Africa, without locality, Buchanan s.n.
(K, holo!).
H. woodii Baker: 3 (1889); Baker in Thiselton-Dyer: 183 (1896); Wood: 132 (1907). Type: KwaZulu-Natal,
Inanda, Wood, 426a (K, image!; NBG!).
Taxonomic Treatment
251
H. obliqua Jacq. var. woodii (Baker) Nel: 309 (1914). Type: KwaZulu-Natal, Wood 426a (K, image!; NBG!).
Diagnostic characters: H. angustifolia var. buchananii is recognised from var. angustifolia by its
larger, flaccid habit, broader leaves, 8–18 mm wide and usually four veins slightly raised on the upper
surface. It also proliferates by short stolons to form tufts and like H. nivea and H. membrancea is
associated it with forest localities. Two forms are recorded in the variety based on leaf dimensions. A
short form with leaves arranged distinctly in distinct ranks [Bole s.n., Wood 426, Haygarth 79, Singh,
647], all in NH. This form was described as H. woodii by Baker (1889). As in var. angustifolia later
in the season, leaves elongate and plants have a lanky appearance, losing the the three-ranked
arrangement of leaves [Pegler 690 (PRE), Strey 5974 (PRE), Thode 2549 (PRE). The short form of
H. angustifolia var. buchananii is most closely related to and often confused with H. zeyheri in leaf
shape and corymbose inflorescences but differs in texture and distribution and type of leaf hairs. In
H. angustifolia var. buchananii, leaves are membranous, sparsely hairy throughout (pilose) and hairs
mostly bifurcate. In H. zeyheri, leaves are thick (not membranous), glabrous, hairs restricted to leaf
margins and midrib on lower surface and stellate, breaking off with age. Figure 12.3.
Distribution and ecology: H. angustifolia var. buchananii occurs in South Africa and Swaziland. In
South Africa, it occurs in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Mpumalanga. The variety
is concentrated in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal with a coastal and inland distribution (Figure
12.34C). It grows in partial shade in forest margins or cliff faces in sandy or loamy soil, and at
altitudes from 15 to 1800 m above sea level. H. angustifolia var. buchananii grows sympatrically with
the other soft species, H. membranacea on cliff faces.
Conservation status: Lower Risk Least Concern (LRlc).
Etymology: Named in honour of Reverend John Buchanan, clergyman who collected mainly in the
KwaZulu-Natal Province.
Uses: H. angustifolia var. buchananii is suitable for garden beds as they proliferate easily by short
stolons to produce new rhizomes, each bearing a shoot, and over a short period form masses with
plentiful flowers.
Vouchers: Baker TM14171 (PRE); Jordaan 317 (NH); Singh, 647 (NH.); Strey 5974 (PRE); Thode 2549
(NH).
Taxonomic Treatment
252
27. Hypoxis membranacea Baker, Journal of the Linnean Society, Botany 17: 106 (1878b); Baker
in Thiselton-Dyer: 182 (1896); Retief & Herman: 70 (1997). Type: South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal,
Tugela, Gerrard 1835 (K, holo!, P!).
Small, delicate, lightly hairy herb, up to 100 mm high, growing in tufts. Rhizome oblong, 10–12 x
5–6 mm or 2 times longer than wide, with few contractile roots, crowned by leaves and a few fine
bristles, white inside. Leaves few, 6–8, wrapped at base in a membranous, brown tunic, lanceolate or
ovate, 80–150 x 8–25 mm, flat, tapering rapidly to a narrow apex, scattered with pustules, translucent
and visible against the light; veins 13–14, all flush with surface, covered in long, weak hairs; hairs
stellate (3–5 arms), white; arms unequal in length, 0.5–0.6 mm long, more developed arms 1.8–2 mm
long, ascending, white. Inflorescence 1 or 2 per plant, corymbose, covered in long, weak, white hairs;
scapes shorter than or as tall as leaves, delicate, 40–90 mm long, flattened in cross section
(ancipitous). Bract subulate, 3–6 mm long, lightly hairy below. Flowers (1)2 or 3; pedicels weak, lax,
12–40 x 0.5 mm when flowers open. Tepals 3+3, white adaxially; outer tepals narrowly elliptic, 4.5–7
x 1.5–2 mm, green abaxially; inner tepals ovate-elliptic, 5–8 x 2–2.5 mm, white, green and sparsely
hairy abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments subulate, 1.5–2 mm long; anthers 1.2–1.5 mm long,
sagittate, apex split. Ovary 1–1.5 mm long; style filiform, 2.0–2.5 mm long; stigma minute, spherical,
0.5 mm in diameter. Capsule turbinate, 2–3 x 1.5–3 mm, opening by a circular slit, splitting
longitudinally into 3 lobes. Seeds ovoid, 1–1.2 x 0.7–0.8 mm, black, dull; testa papillate. Flowering
time: mostly during November to February, less frequently until April. Figure 12.18.
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. membranacea is easily distinguished from all other
species by its broad, membranous leaves covered in long, weak hairs, white flowers and minute,
spherical stigmas. The species is most closely related to H. parvula in leaf texture, shape and stigma
shape, and similar to H. parvula var. albiflora in its white flowers. It differs from H. parvula var.
albiflora in its larger leaves and usually two to three flowers per inflorescence. In H. parvula var.
albiflora, inflorescences usually bear a single flower, very rarely are there two flowers.
H. membranacea is also similar to H. angustifolia var. buchananii in its soft leaves and lax
inflorescences, but differs in having white flowers. In H. angustifolia var. buchananii, flowers are
yellow.
Distribution and ecology: H. membranacea is a South African endemic, restricted to KwaZuluNatal and the Eastern Cape, with a coastal to inland (Figure 12.34R). The species is plentiful in
coastal forest where it often occurs with H. angustifolia var. buchananii. It grows on forest floor or
cliff faces in rock crevices. H. membranacea also occurs in grasslands of mountains and outliers of
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the Drakensberg range among boulders at the side of rivers and streams. It is associated with damp
rock and partial-shade habitats, and grows at altitudes of 20 to 900 m above sea level.
Etymology: named from the Latin membranaceus which translates to membranous in reference to
the thin leaf texture in the species.
Common names: Small white hypoxis.
Vouchers: Flanagan 1172 (BOL, PRE); Ngwenya 489 (NH); Oliver 6732 (PRE); Pegler 109A,B (PRE); Singh
826 (NH).
28. Hypoxis parvula Baker, Journal of Linnean Society, Botany 17: 113 (1878b); Burtt: 190
(1988). Type: South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Sanderson s.n. anno 1854 (K!, holo!).
H. brevifolia Baker: 183 (1896). Type: South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Liddesdale, Wood 3940 (K; NH!).
Small, delicate, sparsely hairy herb, up to 80 mm high, growing singly. Rhizome mostly oblong,
sometimes globose, 50–100 mm in diameter or 1.5–2 times longer than wide, with a few contractile
roots, crowned by leaves and few fine bristles, white inside. Leaves few, 3–5, wrapped at base in a
membranous, white or brown tunic, lanceolate, 15–70(–90) x 5–10 mm; veins 14–18, all flush with
surface; sparsely hairy throughout, mainly on lower surface; hairs a mixture of simple (one arm),
bifurcate or stellate (3–5 arms); arms of unequal length, 0.5–5.0 mm long, weak, ascending, white.
Inflorescence 1(–3) per plant, corymbose; scapes as tall as or taller than leaves, weak, lax, 30–50 mm
long, covered with soft, white hairs. Flowers 1(2); pedicels, long, weak, 30–40 x 0.5 mm when flower
open. Bract subulate, 2–2.5 mm long, lightly hairy below. Tepals 3+3, yellow or white (occasionally
pink) adaxially; outer tepals narrowly elliptic, 2.0–6.5 x 1–2 mm, green and hairy adaxially; inner
tepals ovate-elliptic, 2.5–7 x 1.5–2.5 mm, yellow or white, green and lightly hairy along midrib
abaxially. Stamens 3+3, with filaments subulate, 2–3 mm long; anthers 1–1.5 mm long, apex split.
Ovary minute, ± 1 mm long; style filiform, 3.5 mm long; stigma minute, spherical, 0.5 mm in
diameter. Capsule turbinate or globose, 3–4 x 2–3 mm, opening by a circular slit, splitting
longitudinally into 3 lobes. Seeds ovoid, 0.9–1.1 x 0.8 mm, black, testa papillate. Flowering time:
November–April.
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254
28a. var. parvula
H. limicola Hilliard & Burtt: 188 (1988) syn. nov. Type: South Africa, Mpumalanga, Mac Mac Pools, Hilliard
& Burtt 18455 (NU, iso!).
Diagnostic characters and relationships: H. parvula var. parvula is distinguished by its short, thintextured leaves, covered in long, weak white hairs, inflorescences usually overtopping the leaves,
mostly with a solitary flower, and spherical stigmas. The variety is most closely related to H.
membranacea in its habit; thin leaves; long, slender inflorescences, delicate flowers and spherical
stigmas. It differs from H. membranacea in producing mostly a single flower per inflorescence and
yellow flowers. In H. membranacea, inflorescences usually bear two to three white flowers. Figure
12.25.
Distribution and ecology: H. parvula var. parvula occurs in South Africa and Lesotho. In South
Africa, it is found in Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Mpumalanga and Limpopo (Figure
12.34Y). It is widespread in the Drakensberg mountains, where it grows in masses on the summit and
slopes of the mountains, usually with Rhodohypoxis. H. parvula var. parvula is found in rock crevices
or moist areas among short grass in full sun. It also occurs in coastal forest, along cliff faces, in partial
shade. The variety prefers high altitude areas of 1200 to 2800 m above sea level.
Etymology: Named from the Latin parvutus (very small) alluding to the small stature of plants in the
species.
Vouchers: Haygarth 12077 (NH); Hilliard & Burtt 13687 (NU); Jacobsz 1662 (PRE); Killick 1539 (PRE);
Singh 556 (NH).
28b. var. albiflora B.L.Burtt, Notes from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 45: 190 (1988).
Type: South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal Richmond District, escarpment above Byrne Valley, Hilliard
5589 (E, holo, NU!).
Diagnostic characters: H. parvula var. albiflora is separated from variety parvula by its white (not
yellow) flowers. Figure 12.24.
Distribution and ecology: H. parvula var. albiflora is a south African endemic and occurs in the
Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga (Figure 12.34X). It appears to be plentiful in the
midlands and uplands of KwaZulu-Natal. Burtt (1988) recorded that the species is widespread in
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255
southern and western KwaZulu-Natal along foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains from Kokstad
through to the Karkloof range. The variety forms large colonies in damp areas on mountain ridge
grasslands of high altitudes, between 1500 to 2200 m. above sea level. When growing with H.
parvula var. parvula, it is usually found at slightly lower (about 20 m) altitudes and they seldom
overlap.
Etymology: Named from the Latin albi (white) and floralis (flower) in reference to its white
flowers, unusual for the genus of yellow-flowered plants.
Vouchers: Abbott 4764 (NH, PRU, UMTAMVUNA); Galpin 10245 (PRE); Greene 426, 886 (NH); Hilliard
& Burtt 7377, 7931 (NU); Wood 4979 (PRE).
SPECIES INSUFFICIENTLY KNOWN
Hypoxis beyrichii Nel in Engler, Botanische Jahrbücher 51: 318 (1914). Type: South Africa, Beyrich
326 (B!).
Named in honour of Conrad Beyrich, engineer and traveller, who joined Frans Bachman on a
collecting trip to Pondoland in 1888. Insufficient material to decide on status.
Hypoxis exaltata Nel in Botanische Jahrbücher 51: (1914). Type: South Africa, without closer
locality, Poppe s.n. B412000-19 (B, image!).
Named from the Latin exaltata (raised high), referring to the tall leaves of the species. Known only
from type specimen. Most likely a synonym of H. argentea var. argentea.
Hypoxis jacquinii Baker in Gardener’s Chronicle VIII: 552; Baker: 112 (1878b); Baker: 182 (1896).
Type South Africa, [Northern Cape], Colesberg sent to Kew in 1855, flowered in June 1870.
Named after Baron Nikolaus von Jacquin (1727-1817), a Dutch scientist According to descriptions by
Baker (1878b, 1896), the rhizome is oblong with a long neck and brown membranous tunic and the
leaves are thin in texture. Most likely a synonym of H. obtusa or H. villosa.
Hypoxis longipes Baker in Vierteljahrsschrift der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft: 176 (1904). Type:
Northern Transvaal [Limpopo] (Spelonken), Shiluvane Junod 1446. Named from the Latin longus
(long) and pes (foot) in reference to the long leaves in the species. Listed by Nel under Species non
visae: 337 (1914). Specimen seemingly not at K and Z.
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256
Hypoxis mollis Baker in Vierteljahrsschrift der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft: 177 (1904). Type:
South Africa, Northern Transvaal [Gauteng], Modderfontein, Conrath s.n.
Named from the Latin mollis meaning soft, pliant in reference to the leaves.Listed by Nel under
Species non visae: 338 (1914). Specimen seemingly not at K and Z.
Hypoxis nigricans Conrath ex Baker in Herb Univ. Turic; Baker in Vierteljahrsschrift der
Naturforschenden Gesellschaft: 177 (1904). Type: North Transvaal [Gauteng], Modderfontein,
Conrath s.n.
Named from the Latin niger (black) probably referring to its dirty brown leaves. Presumably
examined by Nel (1914) as not listed under Species non visae: 337. Specimen seemingly not at K.
Hypoxis sagittata Nel in Engler, Botanische Jahrbücher 51: 323 (1914). Type: South Africa, [Eastern
Cape] Kat und Klipplaatrivier Ecklon 3515 (B!).
Described by Nel from a single specimen. Second collection made by Hilliard & Burtt 13264 (NU) at
top of Katberg Pass. Similar to H. filiformis and H. tetramera. Hilliard & Burtt suggest that it is closer
to H. tetramera as it has entire anther tips as opposed to split anther tips as in H. filiformis. Field
knowledge insufficient and specimens lacking to decide on status of H. sagittata.
Hypoxis setosa Baker: 113 (1878b). South Africa, Eastern Cape, Grahamstown, MacOwan 72 (TCD,
holo, image!; GRA!).
Named from setosus meaning bristly, referring to the dense mass of fibrous bristles from remains of
old leaves. The type specimen resembles H. zeyheri closely but requires further field studies to
confirm status.
Hypoxis uniflorata Markötter in Annals of the University of Stellenbosch 8: 15 (1930). Type: South
Africa, Free State, Koolhoek, Thode 2548 (PRE, holo!).
Named from the Latin uni (one) and florus (flower) referring to the plant bearing a single-flowered
inflorescences. Known only from the type specimen. Most likely synonym of H. parvula var. parvula.
Requires field studies to confirm status.
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257
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