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Wachendorfia thyrsiflora 1.jpg
Wachendorfia thyrsiflora
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Commelinales
Family: Haemodoraceae
Genus: Wachendorfia
Burm., 1757, not Loefl. 1758 (Commelinaceae)

Pedilonia C.Presl

Wachendorfia, known as red root, is a genus of cormous perennials endemic to Cape Province in South Africa.[1] It was first described as a genus in 1757.[2][3] The genus was named in honour of Evert Jacob van Wachendorff (1703-1758), Dutch professor of botany and chemistry at Utrecht.

accepted species[1]
  1. Wachendorfia brachyandra W.F.Barker
  2. Wachendorfia multiflora (Klatt) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt
  3. Wachendorfia paniculata Burm.
  4. Wachendorfia thyrsiflora Burm.


Wachendorfias have basal tufts of long, narrow, pleated leaves and bear erect spikes of starry, yellow flowers in spring and summer.

Their common name stems from the red sap of the corms, used as a dye, and the bright red-orange colour of the roots themselves. Red colour is a feature of many plants in the family Haemodoraceae (Haemo = Blood).[4]


Slightly frost hardy, Wachendorfias thrive outdoors in warm, near frost-free environments as an ornamental plant. Most require moist, well drained soils in a sunny position. Some are ideal for bog gardens.

Propagation is via seed or division.[5]



  1. ^ a b c Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ Burman, J. 1757. Wachendorfia 2
  3. ^ Tropicos, Wachendorfia J. Burman
  4. ^ Gardeners Guide to Plants & Flowers, Readers' Digest, Sydney, NSW, Australia, 1997
  5. ^ Flora, The Gardeners Bible, ABC Publishing, Ultimo, NSW, Australia, 2005