homebanner homebanner homebanner homebanner homebanner homebanner
Crocosmia aurea - (Pappe. ex Hook.)Planch.
Common Name Montbretia
Family Iridaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Shady forest areas in moist country, 2000 - 2500 metres from East Cape province and north to Mozambique, Malawi etc[79]. Especially common in conifer plantations[90].
Range S. Africa.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun


Crocosmia aurea Montbretia

Crocosmia aurea Montbretia
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Crocosmia aurea is a CORM growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Tritonia aurea

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Colouring.

A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers and used as a saffron substitute for colouring foods[61, 177, 183].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known


Other Uses

None known
Cultivation details
A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in almost all soils other than very heavy clays or bogs[233], though it prefers a light rich sandy soil[1, 79] in full sun or light dappled shade[200, 233]. Another report says that it prefers a fairly shady position and plenty of moisture in the growing season[79]. The corms are hardy to about -10°c[200] but in cold areas it is wise to lift them when the plants die down in the autumn, store them in a cool frost-free place over the winter and plant them out in the spring[1]. Make sure the corms do not dry out[1]. It is best to avoid lifting the corms if at all possible since the new corms seem to derive some nutrition from the old corms that have flowered[200]. Plants can divide quite freely when growing in a suitable location[233]. Although the fresh flowers have no perfume, when dried and immersed in warm water they release a scent like that of the saffron crocus[245]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[233].
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold greenhouse[1]. The seed usually germinates in 3 - 9 weeks at 20 - 25°c[164]. Stored seed can be sown in early spring in a greenhouse[164]. 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[200]. 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.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants


Print Friendly and PDF
Expert comment
(Pappe. ex Hook.)Planch.
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
Pam Peirce   Wed Aug 21 17:07:23 2002

I have been researching this plant for a book. I know the general texts on economic botany say it is used as a dye and a saffron substitute, but I can find no evidence of its use as a saffron substitute. I know that the man who named it (Planchon) gave it its name because the dried flowers, soaked in water, smelled like saffron, but I can find no evidence that anyone ever used it for this purpose. Without more evidence, I have to assume that this use was suggested by the smell, but never became common.

I did find one business in England that sells plants for dyers to grow as dye sources who sells this plant as a dye plant and says it has been used to dye silk.

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.
Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Crocosmia aurea  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
Medicinal Uses
Other Plant uses
Woodland Gardening
Why Perennial Plants?
Top Edible Plants
Top Medicinal Plants
Garden Design

Twiter      Facebook


Content Help
Support Us
Old Database Search
About Us
Sign In

PFAF Newsletter

Stay informed about PFAFs progress,
challenges and hopes by signing up for
our free email ePost. You will receive
a range of benefits including:
* Important announcements and news
* Exclusive content not on the website
* Updates on new information &
functionality of the website & database

We will not sell or share your email address.
You can unsubscribe at anytime.