Geophyte, 150-300 mm high. Bulb ovoid, 10-30 mm in diameter; tunic multilayered, outer layers dark brown, thick, spongy; inner cataphyll translucent white, adhering to leaf base, apex obtuse. Leaf solitary, lanceolate, 60-220 x 20-60 mm, weakly to strongly curved, glaucous, canaliculate, often conduplicate, upper surface plain, lower surface heavily marked with dark green blotches in upper two thirds, shading to maroon blotches in lower third; leaf margins flat to undulate and crisped; leaf base clasping, 40-70 mm long, silvery-white, heavily banded with maroon, shading to magenta; primary seedling leaf terete, erect. Inflorescence racemose, many-flowered, dense, lax to sturdy, sterile apex short; scape erect to suberect, 50-120 mm long, sturdy, light green to glaucous, heavily blotched with light to dark maroon; rachis light green to glaucous, heavily marked with dull maroon; pedicels suberect to arcuate, 2-20 mm long, shortest at base of inflorescence, lengthening towards apex, greenish-brown to purplish-grey; lower bracts ovate, becoming narrow-lanceolate above, 1-4 x 0.5-2.0 mm, brown at base, shading to white above. Perianth zygomorphic, oblong-campanulate, cernuous, creamy-green to light brown, ageing to dull maroon, foetid-scented; tube a flat disc 4-5 mm in diameter, outer tepals ovate, 4-6 x 4 mm, apical gibbosities greenish-brown, apices translucent white, slightly recurved; inner tepals obovate, 5-6 x 2 mm, median keels brownish-green, apices slightly recurved, translucent white. Stamens well exserted, straight; filaments white, 8-15 mm long. Ovary ellipsoid, 3-4 x 2 mm, light to bright green; style well exserted, straight, 5-8 mm long, white. Capsule broadly obcordate, 8-10 x 8-9 mm, broadly winged. Seed ovoid, 1.8-1.9 x 1.8-2.0 mm, matte, black; strophiole 0.5-0.6 mm long, ridged, micropyle 0.5 mm long, extruded.
Bulbous geophyte, 150-300 mm tall. Leaf 1, broadly lanceolate, spreading to suberect, arched, canaliculate, conduplicate, 20-60 mm broad, clasping base and lower surface heavily banded with dark maroon or brown, upper surface glaucous, unmarked. Scape erect to suberect, sturdy, heavily mottled with brown. Flowers oblong-campanulate, nodding, on long white or green pedicels, tepals cream tinged with greenish brown, stamens well exserted.
Usually encountered in full sun on stony shale flats or rocky south-facing hill slopes in clay or very hard, sandy soil, exposed or within the protection of karroid scrub.