Hesperantha coccinea

Hesperantha coccinea
Common name: Scarlet River Lily; Sotho name: khahlana; Zulu name: isidwi esimpofana

Streambanks from Karkloof to Dargle have cheerful clumps of Hesperantha flowering right now. 

These perennial plants can reach up to 90cm tall with long rigid stems and narrow strap leaves, which often droop across the water, making a very attractive picture.  Each inflorescence has between 5 and 15 gorgeous, star-shaped red flowers, with the buds sheathed in leaves before opening. When fully open, each flower, with six petals, measures about 5cm across with a tube about 3cm long.

Hesperantha coccinea was previously known as Schizostylis and is pollinated by long proboscid flies.

Hesperantha can withstand frost and make great garden subjects, being part of the popular Iris family.  They can be propagated quite easily by dividing their corms, but it is best not to disturb them unnecessarily. They are good cut flowers – with successive blooms opening each day.  

Traditionally the crushed corms are used in infusions to treat stomach disorders.

Click on any of the links below to see another Dargle wildflower