Bobartia Orientalis

February 19, 2018


Bobartia Orientalis is flowering all over the reserve at the moment. It is commonly known as the rush lily or blombiesie.

Flowers are yellow and densely clustered on the end of flower stalks. The main flowering season is from September to November, however plants may flower sporadically throughout the year, depending largely on rainfall.

Fire is thought to be important in its life history as woody rhizomes below the ground are able to re­sprout after fire.

Not much is known about its exact pollinators, however its flowers are hardly ever found intact as a variety of beetle have been found eating its petals.

There is reason to believe that the rush iris might have a special symbiotic relationship with bostrichoid beetles, three species of which have been found feeding on the plants. This is unusual as the bostrichoid beetles usually feeds on wood or dry organic materials throughout its life cycle. These are the beetles that are often found eating furniture and wooden floor boards.

It has been found that the seed capsule on the Bobartia Orientalis, has a capsule lid that is just large enough for the bostrichoid beetles to lay one egg in one of the three seed locules. The seed locules contain lots of red brown seed. As the larva of the beetle grows it will consume the seeds present in one of the locules, before it is ready to leave the seed capsule as a beetle. The seeds in the other two chambers then mature and are released when the capsule dries and opens, to produce more plants. The bostrichoid beetles also seems to favour eating Bobartia Orientalis petals and this may be where it is involved in pollinating the flowers as it moves from flower to flower.

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