Greek onos – ass or donkey, otis – ear; referring to the shape of the tepals.
Perennial short-rhizomatous herbs. Leaves annual, basal, sheathing. Flowers opening wide, radially symmetrical, stalkless. Inflorescence a terminal, erect, many-flowered spike. Tepals 3+3, free. Stamens 3+3, attached to the tepal bases. Styles 3, free. Fruit a dehiscent capsule. Seeds red-brown. Syn. Dipidax Salisb.
Grown for the attractive flowers in full sun to light shade.
2 species endemic to southern Africa, only one in general cultivation.
Spikes of free-petalled flowers with reddish-purple nectary spots and ovaries with free styles.
Baker (1897), Wijnlands (1991).
Source: (2005). Colchicaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.