Moraea flaccida

Cape tulip

Family: Iridaceae

Origin: South Africa

Close up of a single cape tulip flower with six petals.
Cape tulip flowers have 6-petals, are funnel-shaped and orange/scarlet/pink with yellow at the base.

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • National Pest Plant Accord Species
  • Notifiable organism

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Perennial herb < 90 cm tall. Corms are round, thick and fibrous. Stems are branched and sometimes zigzag-shaped. Leaves grow from stem bases and are tough, strap-like, erect and arching.

Flowers are orange/scarlet/pink with yellow at the base, funnel-shaped and borne in clusters in September – November. Seed capsules are < 5 cm long, narrow, cylindrical and green maturing to brown.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell Cape tulip. As Cape tulip is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.

If you see Cape tulip anywhere, you must report it to the Ministry of Primary Industries on 0800 80 99 66.


Open areas, grasslands, pasture, wasteland, roadsides.


Seeds dispersed by gravity, wind, water and animals. Vegetative spread from corms. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste and movement of contaminated soil, vehicles, livestock and machinery.

Impact on environment

Can form dense infestations, suppressing native regeneration. Toxic to humans and livestock.


Recommended approaches

Do not attempt to undertake control of this species. The Ministry of Primary Industries will carry out the control of this species.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

A sprig of cape tulip with flowers.
Seeds are light brown, triangular in narrow, cylindrical capsules.
Photo credit: Primary Industries and Regions South Australia