Scadoxus puniceus

Botanical name

Scadoxus puniceus

Other names

Paintbrush; giant stovebrush; rooikwas or seeroogblom (Afrikaans); umgola (Zulu), formerly Haemanthus magnificus





Description of stem

Tube-based rosette of leaves emanating from the top of the bulb

Description of leaves

Broad, densely packed, wavy and glossy green leaves enveloped at the lower end in a leaf sheath with characteristic purplish spots; the leaves normally appear after the flower

Description of flowers

Large bracts surround the densely packed umbel of red flowers that display large numbers of prominent yellow anthers in each inflorescence surrounded by bracts and on a thick straight, purple spotted stem which may be over 50 cm long; flowering during August to November

Description of seed/fruit

Red, spherical and fleshy berries

Description of roots

Large underground bulb, measuring about 10 cm in diameter with numerous fleshy roots below


Much variability in specimens across the distribution range in e.g. flower colour and leaf shape



Propagation and cultivation

In the garden or a container, a shady position, much compost, water during summer, less in winter; grown from seed, but it takes about five years before it will flower




Treating of coughs and gastro-intestinal complaints; a popular garden subject

Ecological rarity

Not threatened

Pests and diseases



Puniceus = crimson, scarlet or purple; the bulb is poisonous; cultivated in Holland since the 18th century


In bushy, shaded areas, forests and among coastal bushes

Distribution (SA provinces)

Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Kwazulu-Natal, Free State, Eastern Cape


South Africa