Melasphaerula

Melasphaerula is a cormous genus in the Iridaceae family with just one species, Melasphaerula ramosa. The name refers to the cormlets that form around the bell-shaped flat based corm. This species has erect, sword-shaped leaves, often with a purple midrib. Many small creamy white to pale yellow flowers with a musky scent are produced on a branched slender stem in spring. This plant is widespread in the winter rainfall region of southern Africa, occurring from southern Namibia to the Agulhas Peninsula where it is found in sheltered shady places, often on cooler south or east facing hillsides. It is too easily cultivated in some climates where it can become weedy and is considered to be a "collector's" plant by some. Others appreciate its graceful elegance.


Melasphaerula ramosa (L.) Klatt is photographed below in habitat first in the Nieuwoudtville reserve September 2011 by Cameron McMaster and second by Mary Sue Ittner near Tulbagh. The last two photos from the book Plants of the Klein Karoo courtesy of Jan and Anne Lise Schutte-Vlok.

Melasphaerula ramosa, Nieuwoudtville, Cameron McMasterMelasphaerula ramosa, Tulbagh, Mary Sue IttnerMelasphaerula ramosa, Jan and Anne Lise Schutte-VlokMelasphaerula ramosa, Jan and Anne Lise Schutte-Vlok

The first two photos below were taken by Alessandro Marinello. The other photos from Mary Sue Ittner show the flowers as they age, first very pale yellow, then becoming darker, and finally in fruit. The last shows the corms on a 1 cm grid.

Melasphaerula ramosa, Alessandro MarinelloMelasphaerula ramosa, Alessandro MarinelloMelasphaerula ramosa, Mary Sue IttnerMelasphaerula ramosa, Mary Sue IttnerMelasphaerula ramosa fruit, Mary Sue IttnerMelasphaerula ramosa corms, Mary Sue Ittner

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