Herb: Montbretia


Latin name: Crocosmia aurea


Synonyms: Tritonia aurea


Family: Iridaceae (Iris Family)



Edible parts of Montbretia:

A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers and used as a saffron substitute for colouring foods.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Corm


Height:
100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

Flovering:
July to
August


Scent:
Scented
Corm

Habitat of the herb:

Shady forest areas in moist country, 2000 - 2500 metres from East Cape province and north to Mozambique, Malawi etc. Especially common in conifer plantations.

Propagation of Montbretia:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 3 - 9 weeks at 20 - 25C. Stored seed can be sown in early spring in a greenhouse. Sow the seed thinly so that the plants can be grown on undisturbed in their pot for the first year, but give the seedlings an occasional liquid feed to ensure they do not become nutrient deficient. Once the plants are dormant in the autumn, pot up the bulbs putting 2 - 3 bulbs in each pot. Grow them on for another year or two in the greenhouse before planting them out when they are dormant in the autumn. Division in spring as new growth commences. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Shady forest areas in moist country, 2000 - 2500 metres from East Cape province and north to Mozambique, Malawi etc. Especially common in conifer plantations.

Medicinal use of Montbretia:

None known

Known hazards of Crocosmia aurea:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.