It’s been many years since we’ve featured a species from the Haemodoraceae or bloodroot family. Australian representatives Conostylis setosa and Anigozanthos flavidus were both BPotDs in 2007. Thank you once again to retired UBC Botanical Garden staff member David Tarrant for sharing a photo of this African member of the family from his most recent excursion to South Africa. This plant was photographed near the Syncarpha vestita recently contributed by David as well.
Some references suggest an Afrikaans common name for this species of rooiwartel or red-root, but, like many common names, there are other entities that share the moniker (e.g., Bulbine latifolia). The 1804 Exotic Botany by Sir James Edward Smith suggests a common name of broad-petaled dilatris, but that name doesn’t seem to be so common. David didn’t mention a common name for it, but he did note that according to the local publication Common Wildflowers of Table Mountain and Silvermine, it is rare for the area. Endemic to South Africa, it seems to only be found in the south and west of the country (though other range maps show it as only being found in Western Cape province). Perhaps rarely observed, it is still considered a species of least concern by the Red List of South African Plants. Habitat-wise, David notes this photograph was taken in a low boggy area, within the general habitat of “woodlands and scrub”.
iSpot southern Africa contains several other observations of this species. From the Silvermine Nature Reserve, here is a set of photos of Dilatris corymbosa with flowers coloured similarly to today’s BPotD, as well as peach-coloured flower variant.
If you have academic institution access (or similar arrangement), you can also see a scientific description and scanned specimens of the species via JSTOR’s Global Plants: Dilatris corymbosa.