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food indigenous

In search of the blood lily

I spotted this striking beauty under a tree outside my office today.  The flower is followed by fleshy red berries, which the monkeys and birds love.  I’ll try to remember to take a photograph of the berries when they come through.  The bulb is traditionally used to cure coughs, headaches and stomach problems.  The plant is also known as Paintbrush (charming), Rooikwas and isiPhompo.

The Blood Lily.
The Blood Lily.

At home under a tree.
At home under a tree.

5 replies on “In search of the blood lily”

I saw one of these lonely little things under a tree in the botanic gardens just last weekend. Good to know a bit more about it.

I was given one of these bulbs by a farmer years ago, and now have many growing around the garden. In summer they have large, lush leaves which at this time of the year suddenly flop over and start to die. I cut them down, and then up come these lovely flowers.

Nusia Dyk
I started with one blood lily some years ago. They flower early before anything else – but they also multiply like mad; seems the berries, as well as the doubling-up bulbs, produce new plants. Luckily I have a large garden!

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