Spiloxene is a genus in the Hypoxidaceae family with species mostly native to the winter rainfall area of South Africa with flowering occurring in the spring. It is closely related to Hypoxis and was once included in it. The rootstock is a corm which is replaced annually. Flowers are star shaped and mostly gold to yellow, but also white, rarely pink Many of the species favor moist places. Flowers of sun-loving species close at night and don't often open before noon and then on only warm sunny days. For more information consult the South African National Biodiversity Institute
Spiloxene alba if found in marshes and damp flats in the western Cape. Plants grow 5 to 15 cm tall with 2 to 5 erect, succulent, linear leaves. There are 1 to 2 white flowers with a pink reverse per scape. Another distinctive characteristic is the corm which is loosely fibrous above, but otherwise naked or smooth. The species flowers April to June, much earlier than a lot of the other species. Photos from Terry Frewin show the flowers and the distinctive corm.
Spiloxene aquatica is found in seasonal pools and streams. It has small white flowers and cylindrical leaves and flowers June to November. It ranges from Namaqualand to the Cape peninsula and the Southern Cape. Photos 1-3 taken near Tulbagh August 2006. Photo 4 was taken near Nieuwoudtville September 2006. Photos from Mary Sue Ittner and Bob Rutemoeller. Photo 5 was taken in the Overberg and photo 6 was taken near Nieuwoudtville by Cameron McMaster.
Spiloxene canaliculata is found in seasonally wet flats in heavy soils in the Southwest Cape. It is orange to yellow with a dark purple non-iridescent center and when closed you can see the reddish stripes on the back. Leaves are u-shaped without a midrib. Seeds are J-shaped. It flowers July- November. The first two photos were taken by Bob Rutemoeller. The second picture shows a form grown by Gordon Summerfield that does not have a dark center. The third and fourth taken by Mary Sue Ittner include one that shows the corms with their cap of short hard bristles. The fifth picture was taken near Darling (coastal western Cape) September 2006 by Bob Rutemoeller. At the time we assumed it was this species, but it could also be Spiloxene capensis. We would have needed to look at the leaves and the seeds to be sure and we can't tell from the photo. The last photo also taken near Darling is from Cameron McMaster.
Spiloxene capensis is one of the more attractive species with white, cream, yellow, or pink flowers that are unspotted or have an iridescent or non-iridescent dark center. Leaves are linear, v-shaped in cross section, distinctly keeled with often thickened margins, usually with minute recurved teeth. Seeds are ovoid. It flowers winter into spring and is found in seasonally wet flats in the Cape region. The first two photos were taken by Bob Rutemoeller. The third photo was taken by Alan Horstmann. Corms are very unusual with a cap of short fine bristles. The last photo by Mary Sue Ittner shows the corms with a top and bottom with a ruler for size.
Habitat picture show many of the different color variations you might discover in the center. The first two were taken September 2003 by Bob Rutemoeller. The first was taken at Drayton and the second at Boskloof. The third and fourth were taken by Cameron McMaster at Drayton and Napier. All four were taken in the Overberg. The fifth photo was taken by Gordon Summerfield.
Photographs below were taken late August and September 2006 by Mary Sue Ittner. The first shows a mass blooming near Brackenfell where there had been a fire the summer before. The second was taken near Tulbagh of a form with a turquoise center and the third on the path around Lion's Head where a form with a blue center was observed.
Photos below of yellow flowered forms. The first two photographed by Bob Rutemoeller of one exhibited at the IBSA Symposium August 2003 and the second grown by Alan Horstmann. The third and fourth were photographed by Alan. The fifth photo was taken by Gordon Summerfield. The last photo was taken by Cameron McMaster near Middelpos in the Roggeveld September 2011.
Photo taken below of a pink flowered form by Mary Sue Ittner.
Spiloxene flaccida is found on damp flats and slopes often in moist, rocky crevices from the Cape Peninsula to the southeastern Cape. Growing to 25 cm high, it flowers July through September. This species usually has two yellow flowers with green backs borne on thin flaccid stems and grass-like soft recurved leaves that are v shaped in cross section. Photos by Cameron McMaster taken in the Overberg.
Spiloxene monophylla is found on sandstone slopes in the southwest Cape where it blooms December to April, especially after fire. This is a very short plant, 2 to 10 cm high with the scape often subterranean. The flowers are yellow with a pale green reverse. Photo taken by Cameron McMaster in early February in Napier in the Overberg.
Spiloxene ovata grows on seasonally wet rocks and depressions in clay or sandy soils from Namaqualand and the western Cape to the Langeberg Mountains. Plants grow 4 to 22 cm high and have three to seven linear to lanceolate leaves that are 2 to 20 mm wide and channeled. Flowers are one per scape and white, yellow, or rarely orange. The corm is covered with hard, twisted roots. It flowers June to October. The first photo was taken by Bob Rutemoeller at Telos Rare Bulbs. The second and third pictures were taken by Cameron McMaster at Napier in the Overberg and the fourth picture was taken by Mary Sue Ittner in Namaqualand. The last photo was taken by Bob Rutemoeller September 2006 near Nieuwoudtville of what we think is this species. The last photo was taken September 2011 near Middelpos in the Roggeveld by Cameron McMaster.
Spiloxene scullyi is found on rocky hills in Namaqualand and in Namibia, usually on south-facing slopes in crevices or big rock faces. It has numerous narrow, linear leaves up to 15 cm long and 6 mm broad and yellow flowers. Photos taken in Namaqualand September 2006 by Bob Rutemoeller.
Spiloxene serrata, syn. Spiloxene linearis, is white, yellow, or orange with one, occasionally two flowers per scape and a green reverse. Leaves are erect to recurved, channeled, usually with margins of minute recurved teeth. This species flowers winter into spring and is found on inland or coastal flats in sand or clay, usually in seasonally damp sites from Namaqualand to the Roggeveld and the southwest Cape. The first and second photos shows the plants and the third photo two corms on a grid of 1 cm. squares. Corms are finely fibrous, sometimes covered with twisted roots. In cultivation in Northern California this is the first species to bloom, often blooming for many months in winter, especially on warm sunny days. Photos by Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner. The fourth photo is a closeup taken by Alan Horstmann.
Photos 1-4 below from Bob Rutemoeller and Mary Sue Ittner were taken near Nieuwoudtville September 2006 of what we believe to be this species. Photo 5 was taken by Cameron McMaster at the Biekoes Farm near Nieuwoudtville September 2011.
The photos below show two unusual color forms photographed by Gordon Summerfield.
Spiloxene trifurcillata (Nel) Fourc. is an Eastern Cape species that grows from .02-.1 m. at low elevations. Photograph from Mary Sue Ittner of one blooming January 2010 on a cutting above a road in the Eastern Cape.