Cyrtanthus Aiton.

Fire Lily

Greek kyrtos – curved, anthos –flower; referring to the shape of the flower tube.

Perennial herbs with bulbs (sometimes necked). Leaves linear, produced with or after the flowers. Flower clusters terminal on a hollow stalk and with 2 or 4 free spathes. Perianth regular, red to orange or white, long straight or curved tubes, the tube 2-3 times longer than the lobes, corona absent. Stamens 6 in two series, attached to the flower tube, occasionally with a short corona. Ovary inferior, containing many ovules. Fruit capsule containing flat, black, winged seeds. [Vallota D.A. Herb.]

Grown for the attractive flower clusters. Species other than those mentioned here may be encountered. The former 1-species genus Vallota from South Africa has been transferred to Cyrtanthus as C. purpureus (Aiton.) A.D. Herb.; it has perianth lobes with cushion-like bases.


Flower stem hollow; perianth cylindrical with the tube longer than the lobes.

About 47 species from tropical and southern Africa.

Dyer (1939), Nordal (1979), Reid & Dyer (1984).

Source: Spencer, R.; Hay, A.; Ashburner, W. (2005). Amaryllidaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Hero image
kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Lilianae
order      Asparagales
family       Amaryllidaceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
species         Cyrtanthus mackenii Hook.f.