Aristea Flower

Aristea Flower Heads Aristea Aristea Tower

The Aristea Juncifolia is from the Iridaceae (Iris) family, which has 50 species in sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar, 33 of which occur in the Cape and 17 in this area. Blue (occasionally white), regular flowers, are borne in clusters up a branched or unbranched stem, each flower lasting only one day but several appearing successively over time from enclosing sheaths (spathes), the flower twisting on fading. The majority of these flowers are pollinated by pollen collecting bees, open early and are over by about midday.

A fairly slender plant with 6 – 11 cylindrical, tough, rush like leaves up to 30cm long, stems round in cross-sections and usually unbranched. The stalkless dark blue flowers are borne in few-flowered clusters along the stem and emerge from rusty-brown bracts/spathes prominently keeled above and folded along the midline below. It occurs in sandy mountain soils from Paarl to George between October and January.

If you are able to get into the reserves early enough you will be assured a sighting of these beautiful and colourful plants before they disappear at midday.

Bean, A & Johns, A (2005). Stellenbosch to Hermanus: South African Wild Flower Guide 5. Cape Town: Botanical Society of South Africa. 104 - 105

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