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: (2005). Amaryllidaceae. 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.