The Paintbrush Lily (Scadoxis puniceus) is one of South Africa’s most spectacular bulbous plants.
The large underground bulbs may be up to 10cm across and have a short thick stem at the base from which numerous fleshy roots arise. The plants are dormant in winter and use the large bulbs and roots to store moisture during this period.
In spring and early summer the Scadoxus puniceus bears large dense heads (inflorescences) up to 15cm across consisting of numerous smaller scarlet flowers with bright yellow anthers. The flower stalk may reach up to 50-60cm and is often spotted with purple near the base. The inflorescences are borne within bracts which may be large and dark purplish red in colour. Sunbirds, weavers and other nectivorous birds feed on the nectar produced by the flowers.