Dietes bicolor

Botanical Name: 
Dietes bicolor
Common Name: 
African Iris, Fortnight lily,

A clump-forming rhizomatous perennial plant with long sword-like pale-green leaves 1 to 2cm wide, with a double central vein. The erect sword-shaped leaves grow from multiple fans at the base of the clump. It can form large clumps if left undisturbed for years.

The flower (60 mm in diameter) is made up of three functional units, each consisting of an outer tepal and a style branch. Each of these units must be entered separately by the pollinating insect. Nectar is secreted at the base of each of the outer tepals.

The blooms are white to yellow cream and have three dark spots each surrounded by an orange outline. The flowers only last for one day, but because so many buds are produced the plant is almost always in flower from October until January (spring and summer).

The flower is followed by a capsule that may bend the flower stalk to the ground. Ripe seeds (dark brown in colour) are dispersed when the club-shaped capsule (25mm in diameter) dries and splits. The plant can also spread by means of its modified rhizomes which are located below the soil surface.

This genus of Dietes is only found in South Africa and on Lord Howe Island

Ht: up to 1m x 1m


Ideal for mass planting, in a mixed border or along a fence line.


By division or seed.