Bulbous geophyte, 80-200 mm tall. Leaves 2, prostrate; bracts large, lanceolate, succulent. Flowers in a cylindrical, subspicate raceme, overtopped with a coma of large bracts, shortly pedicellate, greenish; tube campanulate, 4-7 mm long, tepals ovate, 10-15 mm long, filaments 7-9 mm long, shortly united below, anthers and pollen yellow, ovary exposed. Capsules subglobose-turbinate, 3-winged, ± 15 mm long, seeds ± 2 mm diam.
Bulbous perennial; bulb subglobose, 2-3 cm diameter; outer tunics papery, pale brown. Leaves 2, prostrate, elliptical to suborbicular, 8-22 x 5-17 cm, subsucculent and fragile, pale green, veins impressed, clasping at base. Inflorescence a stout, conical spike borne at ground level, 3-11 cm long, the peduncle scarcely protruding, tapering below; floral bracts spreading or apically decurved, broadly ovate, acuminate or attenuate, (15)20-40 x 8-20 mm, concave or cupped, subsucculent, green, persisting in fruit, the uppermost bracts sterile and forming a small or conspicuous coma. Flowers subsessile, shallowly campanulate, pale green, sour-scented; pedicel stout, short, up to ± 3 mm long; perianth tube cup-shaped, 4-7 mm long; tepals ascending, ovate, 6-9 x 4-6 mm. Stamens adnate to the base of the tepals, whitish; filaments erect-incurved, connate basally for 1-2 mm, free parts awl-shaped and 6-7 mm long; anthers 2.5-3.5 mm long, creamy yellow. Ovary obtriangular or obovoid, 3-5 x 3-6 mm, green; style ± arcuate, 4-5 mm long. Capsule broadly obovoid-subglobose or obtriangular, three-winged, papery, 1.5-2.5 cm diameter, surrounded at first by persistent, papery perianth. Seeds globose, ± 2 mm diameter, glossy black.
Found in humic pockets in sheltered rocky sites that are locally moist during the winter growing season and that offer shade and protection from the sun throughout the year.
Southern Namibia, Bushmanland, through central Namaqualand to Bokkeveld and Pakhuis Mountains.
Western southern Africa, ranging from southern Namibia through the higher-lying parts of northern and central Namaqualand to the northern Cedarberg Mountains near Clanwilliam in South Africa.