Flowers of South Africa

© Roger de la Harpe
Cosmos Flowers near Clarens in South Africa.

South Africa has a fabulous array of indigenous flowers that enhances the country’s natural beauty and diversity. One of South Africa’s marvels is its incredible diversity of plant and flower species found in the Cape Floral Kingdom (or the Cape Floristic Region) on the country’s Western Cape.

The region includes exquisite flowers such as the king protea (South Africa’s national flower). has extensive information on South African flower species, translated into 11 official languages to provide people with factual, educational insight into South Africa’s biodiversity.

Eight National Botanical Gardens are situated throughout the country in five of South Africa's six different biomes. When Kirstenbosch, the most famous of the Gardens, was founded in 1913 to preserve the country's unique flora, it was the first botanical garden in the world with this ethos. What makes the Gardens so famous worldwide is that only indigenous plants are cultivated.

Barberton Daisy

The Barberton Daisy has become an emblem of South African organisations and was the symbol for the Blue Bulls, a famous rugby union based in Pretoria. It also appears on the flag and coat of arms...more

Blood Lily

The blood lily prefers shady areas in the grasslands and rocky outcrops of the northern parts of South Africa and further northwards to Tanzania....more

Bulbous Marshweed

A slender perennial herb, growing between 15 and 45cm high, the bulbous marshweed exhibits a thin flower-spike enclosed by small upright leaves....more

Candelabra Flower

The candelabra flower sprouts from a huge bulb about 200mm in diameter covered in thin brown skin-like scales. A perennial herb, the plant grows...more

Cape Eelgrass

Eelgrass grows in estuaries – where freshwater and seawater come in contact. The plant helps to bind the sandy deposits, provides shelter for marine animals and fish and becomes a source of food when it...more

Day Waterlily

The waterlily is one of the most honoured plants on the planet. Legends have it that it that when Buddha died, flowers starting blooming wherever he had walked. The waterlily is the national...more

Devils Thorn

The devil thorn is a small annual creeper with long hairy stems. A common plant bearing small claw-shaped thorns and purple flowers, it flowers in the South African summer from December to April....more

Flame Lily

The African flame lily is a climber with coiling tips which allows it to attach to neighbouring plants as support. These tips die off after fruits have formed....more


Gazanias shallow roots prefer open grassland regions of South Africa such as the arid of the Northern Cape Province and certain areas of the Western Cape coast and interior such as Namaqualand (the wildflower region...more

Goats Foot

Named after its lobed leathery leaves that looks like a goat’s hoof, the goat's foot is a sprawling creeper with long trailing stems growing a few meters long. The bright purple flowers looks like trumpets....more

Golden Cleome

The golden cleome has yellow flowers that are purple at the base, with prominent stamens sticking out. It is a dainty, open-branched herb with fine compound leaves....more

Ground Morning Glory

The ground morning glory’s trumpet shaped flowers vary in colour from blue to purple, and are about 2.3 cm (1 inch) in diameter....more

Hottentots Fig

The ice plant carries succulent fruits that are edible. The fruits can be used to make jams or sauces or can be dried....more

Impala Lily

The flowers of the impala lily are about 5 cm in diameter. This plant blooms in July, but where cultivated they can flower as late as mid-September....more

Krantz Aloe

A Krantz aloe plant has many stems and thick leaves that are yellow-green in colour, sharply spiked and contains a slimy yellowish sap....more

Kudu Lily

During autumn, the kudu lily blooms and its white flowers appear. This succulent shrub has a thick stem and spiked, finger-like branches. Its leaves are shiny and green with wavy edges....more

Lebombo Aloe

The Lebombo aloe can be found in South Africa growing on the cliffs and rocks of Mpumalanga and Limpopo. This species is under protection in the Kruger National Park. It also occurs in Mozambique and Zimbabwe....more

Leopard Orchid

The leopard orchid is an epiphytic plant, meaning it grows on another plant yet not as a parasite. It fastens its roots on the branches of trees and usually grows in full sunlight....more

Mountain Aloe

The mountain aloe blooms during the months of June and August. Orange, tubular flowers are carried on stocky stems and branches. These plants are tall and have a single stem coated...more

Pineapple Flower

The pineapple flower blooms in December. The flower head grows a dense cluster of flowers from its stem. This plant grows from a bulb that measures...more

Pride of de Kaap

The pride of de Kaap blooms during March and April, but may flower as early as November. Its flowers vary from a salmon pink to orange, yellow to white in colour....more

Pyjama Flower

The pyjama flower is an inconspicuous flower as it is close to the ground. It blooms in July to September in South Africa....more

Red Hot Poker

The flower heads of the red-hot poker are a dull red-orange, but in summer turn yellow to green-yellow when they open. The flowering stem reaches...more

River Crinum

The River Crinum grows across a wide range of environments in South Africa. The crinum lily is used for a range of medicinal purposes, however, be careful as some species in South Africa may prove to be toxic....more

River Vernonia

The river vernonia is a bushy shrub with broad oval leaves with wavy margins. The pale lilac coloured flowers can be seen in bloom during the South African autumn....more

Rock Aloe

The rock aloe is characterised by its thick, blue-green ridged leaves that contain a rich slimy sap that is used to cure stomach ailments in South Africa....more

Rock Jasmine

The rock jasmine is a scrambler with rich fragrant flowers that flourish in full sun. The petals are white on top and are pink on the underside....more


The seeplakkie has an extensive root network throughout the sand dune, which aids in stabilising the shifting sands. The thick waxy leaves is an adaptation to help prevent water loss in the harsh dune environment....more


In South Africa, the soutbossie is identified by its short underground stems and upright branches that are surrounded by green-grey coloured succulent velvety leaves....more

Sprawling Duneweed

The sprawling duneweed is a sprawling plant with red stems and succulent flat oval leaves. The flowers it bears are very small with a crown of yellow stamens....more

Sweet Prickly Pear

The sweet prickly pear is succulent that grows paddle-shaped stems covered in sharp spines. This leafless plant is also an alien indigenous to South America. It bears edible plum-shaped spiny fruits....more

Tassel Pondweed

Pondweed is often found in coastal wetlands and estuaries where it grows underwater to form dense clumps that can damage boat propellers....more

Vlei Orchid

The vlei orchid bears beautiful fragrant yellow flowers and can grow up to a height of 2 m long. The leaves are small and appear wrinkled and grow close to the ground....more

Wandering Jew

The Wandering Jew is a perennial ground herb and bears extremely delicate flowers that live for only a few hours long. The flowers are made up of three petals and have bright yellow stamens....more

Water Hyacinth

The water hyacinth has large fleshy green leaves, a swollen petiole and mauve coloured flowers. The water hyacinth is an aquatic plant that originates from tropical America and is an invasive alien in South Africa....more


The Watsonia of South Africa has four long sword-shaped leaves that can grow up to 90 cm in length. The lowest leaf is usually the longest one. The plant has a depressed corm...more

Wild Dagga

Wild dagga can be found in South Africa in Limpopo and the Kruger National Park. It prefers savannah and dense bush or shrub as its habitat....more

Wild Foxglove

The wild foxglove is an annual herb. It grows tall and straight, and its leaves are opposite one another and slightly toothy. Its flowers are an elongated cone shape and vary from a light pink to white in colour....more

Wild Ginger

A wild ginger plant blooms during October to November. Its dainty flowers vary in colour from pale pink to light purple and are 60 to 80mm in width....more

Wild Hibiscus

The wild hibiscus is a small tree or bush that blooms during summer. The colour of the flowers vary from yellow to pink and have a darker centre in its cup-shape, where the stamens and stigmas join to form a stalk....more

Wild Verbena

Wild verbena flowers are pollinated by moths and butterflies. These insects are the only ones which can reach the pollen at the bottom of the long, tubular flowers by using their long tongues....more

Yellow Arum Lily

The arum lily usually blooms in October, and it is a perennial herb. Its rootstock has many buds and is a fleshy rhizome. This plant is not eaten or used in any medicines or treatments....more