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Boophane disticha

   (Family: Amaryllidaceae)
Afrikaans: Gifbol, perdeskop, seerooglelie English: century plant, sore-eye flower Xhosa: Incotho, Incwadi  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Bulb
Height: 0.5m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (heavy)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
  Sand (coarse texture, drains easily),
Clay (fine texture, holds a lot of water),
Loam (gritty, moist, and retains water easily)
Biome: Grassland
  Contains extremely toxic alkaloids and several human deaths have been recorded.
Flowering time EDIT
            x x x x    
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower type
  Flower scent EDIT
  Sweetly scented
  Bees and flies
  Flower info
  The rounded inflorescence has numerous pink to red flowers all at an equal distance from the main flowering stalk.
  Leaf info EDIT
  Large greyish green, strap-like leaves arranged in a very distictive fan-shaped manner, usually produced after flowering.
  Seed info EDIT
  The pedicels (flower stalks) elongate after flowering to form a large seedhead. This breaks off at the top of the scape (stalk) and tumbles across the veld dispersing the seed.
Description EDIT
This bulbous plant has large strap-like leaves arranged in a very distictive fan-shaped manner.
The bulb is partly exposed above the surface of the ground and has numerous papery scales around the fleshy part.
Growing EDIT
Distribution EDIT
Widely distributed in the southern and eastern parts of South Africa and further north into tropical Africa.
It is usually found in open grassland.
History EDIT
The bulb scales are used for medicinal purposes.
The dry outer scales of the bulb are used as an outer dressing after circumcision and are also applied to boils or septic wounds (oftern mixed with water, milk or oil) to alleviate pain and to "draw out" pus.

Weak decoctions of the bulb scales are administered by mouth or as an enema for various complaints such as headaches, abdominal pain, weakness and eye conditions.

Very weak decoctions of the bulb scales are used as an effective sedative. Higher doses induce visual hallucinations, which are sometimes used for divination and even higher doses can be fatal.
Ecology EDIT
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  • Ben-Erik van Wyk, (2005), Medicinal Plants of South Africa ,Briza Publications  


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