Moraea villosa

Common Name -Moraea villosa – Peacock Moraea

Plant Identification

Genus: Moraea
Family: Iridaceae
Species: Villosa
Plant type: Bulb
Note: The Peacock Moraea or Moraea Villosa used to be prolific in mass spring flower displays of the Cape lowlands. This very attractive flower has now lost more than eighty per cent of its habitat to wheat fields and urban expansion, and only a few populations remain in isolated renosterveld fragments. This plant is classified as vulnerable. It is a large flowered species that is easily cultivated in deep pots or raised beds and rock gardens. These plants also require regular deep drenching throughout the growing period.

Plant Images

Moraea Villosa

Plant Descriptions

Fruit / flower:
Colour: The three large outer tepals of Moraea Villosa can be various shades of purple, lilac or pink.
Flowering time: Spring to mid summer (In South Africa Moraea Villa flowers from August to September and the flowers last several days.
Flower size: The 1 and 1/4” blue flowers have large, iridescent, dark blue & yellow markings
Fragrance: None / light sweet scent
Height: 60 – 90 cm
Foliage description: Evergreen. The flowers are held on held on upright stems. Stems are soft and hairy. Plants have a single, narrow, hairy leaf which is attached near the base of the stem. The leaf is normally as long as, or often longer than the stem.
Foliage colour: green

Plant Requirements

Light preference: Full sun to partial shade
Watering: Do NOT water in summer. Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings.
Soil requirements: Fast draining sandy soil
Pruning: n/a

Other Information

Propogation: By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets).
Other notes: Moraea villosa is found on stony granite and clay slopes and flats in the winter rainfall area of the Western Cape in South Africa. Moraea Villosa can be purple, lilac, sometimes pink or orange or even cream or white with yellow nectar guides on the outer tepals outlined in broad bands of dark color.

Moraea villosa is easy to grow, and will make an attractive plant in a small garden or pot. Plants can be grown from either seeds or corms. Seeds germinate easily, but plants grown from seed may take up to two or three years to flower. Seeds or corms should be planted in well-drained soil in late March or April. Plant corms two to three times as deep as their diameter. Water sparingly, and avoid over-use of fertilizer. At the end of the flowering season, lift corms to prevent insect damage and rotting. (Info on Moraea Villosa from See link for additional info)

My Notes:
I acquired a few bulbs of Moraea Villosa and planted them in April 2011. Await bloom time!
Moraea villosa subsp. villosa is classified as Vulnerable due to its restricted range, few remaining populations and declining habitat.

References: PlantzAfrica, Daves Garden, Pacific Bulb Society.

About the author: Christine

Dominated by large trees on a medium sized property, my garden is very shaded. With no “full sun” areas I have to plant shade and partial shade loving plants. I love shrubs and flowers including camellias and azaleas but Roses and Irises are my favourite and getting these to thrive is a challenge …

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