Family: Colchicaceae

These eight species of unusual, climbing plants have nodding, bell-shaped, orange flowers in summer. The central vein of the leaves extends to form a tendril by which the climber attaches itself to other plants or objects.


L. modesta, from South Africa, is the only species cultivated. This herbaceous peren­nial has masses of attractive, yellow-orange summer flowers and grows to 2 m (6 ft).


In frost-prone climates, grow in an intermediate conservatory or greenhouse in pots of gritty, soil-based potting compost. Plant the tubers in autumn. Ensure maximum light. Water normally in the growing period, then reduce watering as the leaves die down, and keep almost dry in winter. Outdoors, grow in full sun and well-drained soil. Plant 15 cm (6 in) deep. Propagate from seed, or by division of the clump in winter.


Warmer parts of zone 9.

Lithops      Livistona