Herbs & Plants

Crinum macowanii

Botanical Name: Crinum macowanii
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Order: Asparagales
Genus: Crinum
Species:C. macowanii

*Crinum gouwsii Traub
*Crinum johnstonii Baker
*Crinum macowanii subsp. kalahariense L.S.Hannibal
*Crinum pedicellatum Pax

Common Names: River crinum, river lily, Common vlei-lily, Sabie crinum, Cape coast lily (Eng.); Rivierlelie, Boslelie, Sabielelie (Afr.); Intelezi (isiXhosa); Umduze (isiZulu)

Habitat : Crinum macowanii is native to most of east, central, and southern Africa. The plant occurs naturally in moist grassland, vlei, deciduous woodland, in hard, dry shale, sandy flats, or brackish to reddish clay soils, as well as along rivers and on the coast from 1000 to 2600 m above sea level.

Its continued existence is threatened by the unsustainable harvesting of the plant for its reputed medicinal properties.

Crinum macowanii is a deciduous bulbous plant with long, slender, bell-shaped, highly scented flowers which are white except for dark pink stripes.
The bulbs of this species vary greatly in size, being anywhere from 6 to 25 centimetres in diameter.

The flowers are large, bell-shaped, strongly sweet-scented white lilies with dark pink stripes, produced in umbels of 5 to 25 flowers on the tip of a long stalk, up to 1.1m tall. Flowering season is early summer (October to December). The fruit is a capsule of 3-6 irregularly shaped large (±20mm diameter) smooth, pale green to silvery, fleshy seeds or occasionally up to 20 small seeds.


Plant the bulbs, pointed end upwards, into the soil with the top of the bulbs slightly exposed. Water in well after planting and continue to water regularly throughout the season. Crinums often start to flower around August and last well into autumn.

Medicinal Uses:
Throughout much of Africa, the bulbs of Crinum macowanii are used for the treatment of a large number of conditions, with the roots and leaves having some, though far fewer, traditional uses.

Infusions of the bulb of the plant are used in Zimbabwe for the relief of back pain, as an emetic, and to increase lactation in both humans and animals.

The Zulu and Xhosa people make use of the plant for the treatment of bodily swelling, disorders of the urinary tract, and itchy rashes.

Various other ailments the treatment for which this plant is made use include acne, boils, diarrhea, fever, tuberculosis, and sexually transmitted infections.

The plant is also used in traditional veterinary medicine in South Africa.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.