Sparaxis tricolor

Sparaxis tricolor.

Family Iridaceae > Subfamily Crocoideae (Ixioideae) > Tribe Ixieae.
One of 15 species the Harlequin flower it has also been known as Ixia tricolor.
It is naturalised in large areas of Australia and is a weed in some.

Clumping plants growing from corms.
Leaves, up to 30 cm long, are in 2 ranks forming a basal fan.
The pale green, upright, linear to lanceolate leaves are under 3 cm wide.
They have a prominent midvein.

Inflorescences are spikes up to 45 cm high with up to 6 flowers.
Flowers have papery bracts with brown streaks and a split at the top.
The flowers are up to 8 cm across and have 6 similar tepals.
The tepal bases are fused into a tube under 1 cm long.
The flaring tepal lobes are bright orange with yellow bases.
A black band separates the orange and yellow areas.

The 3 stamens are free and have straight, yellow anthers.
The ovary is inferior and the style branches into three.

The many cultivars add a large range of colours in bi- or tri-coloured flowers.
Colours include white, magenta, apricot, lavender, maroon, pink, cream and shades of red to orange.

Sparaxis pillansii.
This is similar to Sparaxis tricolor and is described as having rose-pink tepal lobes with
    yellow bases rimmed in dark purple-red.
The reddish-purple anthers are twisted.
With all the hybrids it can be difficult to distinguish the two.