Common names: soldier in the box (Eng.);
geldbeursie (Afr.) (little money purse); blougif (Afr.) (blue poison).
This bulbous perennial which grows 35 – 60 cm high, bears two, three or sometimes four narrow, channelled leaves. The leaf margins are rolled in, becoming warty and conspicuously clasping the stem at the base of the plant.
It is closely related to ornithogalum (chinkerinchee), which is also a toxic plant. Children can be poisoned from accidental ingestion and animals grazing in pastures are at risk.
The fragrant, yellow flowers which are 15 – 25mm long, with green keels, are strikingly beautiful and have an unusual shape. Three of the petals point forward, forming a tube, while the other three point outwards, thus making these plants easily identifiable. After flowering and fruiting in spring the plant has a dormant phase during the dry, hot summer.