This rainy-day photograph is from last October, taken here at UBC Botanical Garden. Dierama erectum doesn’t seem to have a vernacular name, though I suppose upright fairybells or upright wandflower would work. This photograph isn’t a good example of the upright spikes of flowers that help distinguish it from its pendulous-flowered counterparts because of the mass of the water on the blossoms.
The name and description for this species were only scientifically published in 1988, even though a specimen was collected at least as early as 1977. In the past few decades, the species has become popular in cultivation. Its fate as a wild species is much less certain. Recent conservation assessments of this South African endemic species have determined it is endangered, with the justification for that status as “Known from a few subpopulations at two locations, in a very small area between Vryheid, Ngome and Paulpietersburg, northern KwaZulu-Natal (EOO 1800 km²). Most subpopulations remain in grassland fragments owned by a commercial forestry company and are all declining due to overgrazing. There may be a few other undiscovered locations on privately owned land, but probably not more than five” (EOO means extent of occurrence).
Research being done at the University of KwaZulu-Natal by Motselisi Jane Koetle has helped to establish a micropropagation protocol for the species: In vitro propagation of Dierama erectum. Being able to generate 15137 plants from one explant in a year would significantly bolster the number of individuals. However, since micropropagation only produces clones, it is but one element of a successful species restoration strategy, as it is ideal to preserve as much genetic diversity of the species as possible (see disease and monoculture).