Cobra lily

Cobra lily

Chasmanthe floribunda

Scientific name

Chasmanthe floribunda is an attractive bulbous plant upright splay of tubular vibrant orange flowers, usually found on slopes and rocky outcrops. A variant with yellow flowers is called var. duckittii.

It sprout with the rains and produces large clumps from bulbous growth and spread and then dies down with the dry season after flowering. It is pollinated by sunbirds and the fruits are eaten and dispersed by other fruits eating birds.

Full sun or light shade is best but very high temperatures induce dormancy. Corms are also dormant in dry months. The corms survive some watering in summer if the soil is well drained. Any soil is suitable otherwise.

Chasmanthes are recorded as historically being used for food and medicine.

Propagation instructions

By seed

The dormant corms seem to be tolerant of some moisture during the summer months, and will survive general garden irrigation as long as the soil is free-draining or dries out between watering.

Plants do best in light shade or full sun, but higher temperatures induce dormancy, and the species is thus not suitable for tropical conditions.

It thrives in any soil.

The dead leaves should be cut down in early summer.

References and further reading

PlantZAfrica profile »

Wikipedia page »

Seedbank Quantity
Arundel Seedbank 700
Tin Capsule Seedbank 50
Zenker Seed Emporium 89
Total 839

This table below shows how many plants we are trying to obtain for this species.

Site Area Quantity
Site #24 Rosebank 40
Site #33 Rosebank 30
Site #39 Mowbray 20
Site #44 Rosebank 200
Site #57 Rosebank 400
Site #62 Newlands 30
Site #15 Rosebank 100
Site #66 Mowbray 80
Site #64 Mowbray 50
Site #60 Bishop's Court 30
Site #20 Rosebank 100
Site #80 Rosebank 40
Site #127 Rosebank 50
3 other sites 190
Total 1170

Important characteristics

Conservation status: Least Concern

This species was selected because it has various important characteristics.

This is a bird-friendly species

It provides medicinal value


Easy to grow

Suitable for clay soil

Suitable for sandy soil

It provides food for:


Southern double-collared sunbird

Chasmanthe floribunda is indigenous to: Peninsula Shale Renosterveld

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