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Chasmanthe floribunda

Chasmanthe floribunda, Photo:

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Ordo: Asparagales

Familia: Iridaceae
Subfamilia: Crocoideae
Tribus: Ixieae
Genus: Chasmanthe
Species: Chasmanthe floribunda
Varietates: C. f. var. duckittii – C. f. var. floribunda

Chasmanthe floribunda (Salisb.) N.E.Br. (1932)

Antholyza floribunda Salisb., Trans. Hort. Soc. London 1: 324. 1812.

Petamenes floribunda (Salisb.) E.Phillips, Bothalia 4: 44. 1941.

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Africa
Regional: Southern Africa
Cape Provinces
Introduced into:
Algeria, Argentina Northeast, California, East Aegean Is., New South Wales, South Australia, Spain, St.Helena, Victoria, Western Australia

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Brown, N.E. 1932. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 20: 274.

Additional references

Govaerts, R. 1999. World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b). 1532 pp.. MIM, Deurne. ISBN 90-5720-098-8 (issue 1), ISBN 90-5720-099-6 (issue 2b). Reference page.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2022. Chasmanthe floribunda in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2022 Jan 31. Reference page.
Hassler, M. 2022. Chasmanthe floribunda. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2022. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2022 Jan 31. Reference page. 2022. Chasmanthe floribunda. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2022 Jan 31.
International Plant Names Index. 2022. Chasmanthe floribunda. Published online. Accessed: Jan 31 2022.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Chasmanthe floribunda in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 07-Oct-06.

Vernacular names
Afrikaans: Kapelpypie, Suurkanolpypie, Geelpypie, Suurknol, Piempiempie
English: Greater cobra lily, African flag, Pennant flower
Chasmanthe floribunda is a species of flowering plant in the iris family which is known by the common name African flag. This plant is endemic to Cape Province in South Africa, but it has been introduced to other areas of similar climate, and is considered to be naturalized in California, Algeria, Australia, Argentina, and St. Helena.[1][2][3][4][5]

Chasmanthe floribunda is a perennial herbaceous plant sprouting from a corm and producing clumps of long, narrow leaves. It erects one thin, tall stem which may approach a meter in height. Atop the stem is a spike inflorescence holding 20 to 40 flowers in neat vertical rows. The flower is a curving tube with a long upper lobe curving down over smaller lobes. From the mouth of the flower protrude the stamens with their large, hanging anthers, and the style. The flower is generally bright orange-red or scarlet on the upper lobe and yellow to orange in the lower lobes.

Chasmanthe emerges from the ground in autumn in the Western Cape, South Africa, after the first winter rains. It is frequented by sunbirds, which feed on the nectar it provides at this time of year. It flourishes and flowers in both sun and shade.


Chasmanthe floribunda var. duckittii G.J.Lewis ex L.Bolus
Chasmanthe floribunda var. floribunda – Yellow cobra lily

Several Chasmanthe plants growing among rocks and shrubs.
Chasmanthe floribunda in habitat near Cape Town, South Africa

Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
Cooke, D.A. (1986). Flora of Australia 46: i-xii, 1-247. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
Hurrell, J.A. & Delucchi, G. (2005). Iridaceae Ixioideae adventicias en la Argentina. Boletín de la Sociedad Argentina de Botánica 40: 289-296.
Lambdon, P. (2012). Flowering plants & ferns of St Helena: 1-624. Pisces publications for St Helena nature conservation group.
Biota of North America Program 2013 county distribution map

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