Geophyte (geo- or earth and -phyte or plant) is a term used to describe plants with underground storage organs. The term most people commonly use for these underground storage organs is “bulb”, but, scientifically, the terminology is extensive. For example, in Gladiolus, the organs are actually corms, while in Iris, they are typically rhizomes. Brunsvigia josephinae, it so happens, has a true bulb.
Also known as Josephine’s lily or the candelabra lily, this member of the Amaryllidaceae is a winter grower from western South Africa. During the winter rainy season, the leaves emerge and help provide food to the bulb. The leaves die back in the early summer before flowers shoot up in later summer months (note: the apparent leaves at the base of the plants belong to different plants: Aloe mitriformis). Plants of Brunsvigia josephinae are able to survive through extremely low temperatures as well as drought outside of the rainy season due to their specialized energy storage organ.
The floral architecture is arranged in just the right way to seduce sugar-birds. The birds attracted by the red color, then search out the sugars in the nectary spur (the tube opposite the petals) of the flowers. Upon visiting the flower, they clumsily transfer pollen from the anthers to the stigma, thereby fertilizing the flower. If one was to grow the flowers in areas supporting hummingbirds, they would be the most likely pollinators.