Aristea platycaulis

Common Name: aristea 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Iridaceae
Native Range: Southern Africa
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy


Best grown in evenly moist, rich, well-draining, humusy loams in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of some light frost. Hardy in Zones 9-11. Overwinter in a garage, cold frame, or greenhouse in colder climates.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Aristea platycaulis is a herbaceous perennial endemic to the Wild Coast region of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa where it grows at the edges of coastal forests. Mature plants will reach up to 1' tall with a similar width. Clusters of upright to spreading basal foliage emerge from 0.5" long, thickened rhizomes. The leaves are narrowly sword-shaped, reaching 1' long and 1" wide. The inflorescence is a 8-9" tall branched raceme with clusters of small, blue flowers and a 0.5" wide, flattened, winged stem. The main bloom period is in summer, but will bloom seasonally depending on climatic conditions. The seed capsules are divided into three parts and contain small, round seeds.

Genus name comes from the Greek word aristos meaning best in reference to the pleasing quality of the plant.

The specific epithet platycaulis means "broad-stemmed", in reference to the inflorescence of this species which has a winged stem.


No known pest or disease problems of note. Waterlogged or poorly drained soils will lead to root or crown rot.


A unique specimen for mixed border fronts. This plant is rare in its native habitat. Only purchase nursery propagated seed or divisions from reputable growers.