Flora of the Mountain Kingdom

Crimson Flag (Hesperantha Coccinea) – Lesotho Flowers

March 2, 2011


Sesotho name: Khahla e nyenyane / Khahlana

Afrikaans name: Rooirivierlelie

Common name: Crimson Flag

Old name: Schizostylis coccinia

Hesperantha coccinea

(Photo by Marie Viljoen)


The name Hesperantha means ‘evening flower’ and the genus comprises 65 species which are distributed through both the summer and winter rainfall areas of South Africa.

An invite is made for those who would love to truly see the massive display of these lilies at the five-star Maliba lodge along the edges of created water features.



Family: Iridaceae – Iris family

It is a fairly large indigenous Iris and is a marvellous, water-loving, perennial bulbous plant. It occurs naturally in saturated soils on stream banks growing in full sun. Although the flowers are normally bright red, there are also pink and white forms.

Distribution and habitat:

In Lesotho, it is naturally confined in the South of the country specifically in the  Qacha’s neck district. The habitat is along the edges of natural streams with pure clean water.


Cultivation and plant use:

It forms dense clumps which mean it is splitting and spreading from its roots. These clumps can be divided, ideally from January to April. It’s easier with seed for massive production in a nursery situation or home gardening. Due to its striking and pure red uncontaminated colour of its flowers, it is commonly used as a striking garden plant. It makes an interesting focal point if grown in an artificially created wetland or around a water feature in garden situations where the roots are constantly in water.

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