Eriospermum ornithogoloides

Weekly Plant of Interest

Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’re focusing this week on a small plant of the from the Eriospermaceae family.

Eriospermum ornithogaloides (khonggoana-tsingoana in Sesotho), is a small plant that grows to between 100 & 250 mm in height at altitudes of up to 2400 m A.S.L. This unusually shaped plant is found growing in colonies on the edges of rock sheet and sparsely grassed rocky areas – often nearby or among succulent plants. Occurs from  the EC to FS.

E. ornithogaloides photographed here were observed growing just above the Scilla Walk – apparently unharmed by errant goats. It’s not often that one sees a plant growing with no stem and just a single above-ground leaf…Interesting.



E. ornithogaloides possesses a single solitary leaf which lies closely against the ground and measures approx. 35 X 25 mm. The leaf is roughly heart-shaped with red margins, sometimes fringed by hairs. The inflorescence is not often observed as it occurs separately from the leaves – on the same below ground plant. The flowers are 10 mm in diameter, with spreading outer tepals and white erect inner petals with a blue-green midvein. Flowering Oct – Dec. Uses:

Traditional Uses

Has been known to treat earache and even infertility in women of the Sesotho culture.

Conservation Status

This species has been recorded as of least concern by SANBI.