Crinum moorei

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Botanical Name
Crinum moorei
Amaryllidaceae - The amaryllis family.
KRYE-num MOOR-eye
Common Name(s)
English: Natal lily; Inanda Lily; Ngomi Lily
Afrikaans: Boslelie; Natal-lelie; Ngomilelie; Rivierlelie
IsiXhosa: ibhucu
Plant Group
  • Bulb / Corm / Rhizome / Tuber / Epigeal bulb Bulbs: are made up of fleshy scales as in an onion Corm: a short, swollen, underground stem that is hard and not fleshy as in a gladiolus Tuber: a solid, fleshy, underground, storage organ as in a potato Rhizome: an underground, horizontal, swollen stem at the base of the plant as in an iris Epigeal bulb: bulbs that rest above the ground with only the roots anchoring the plant to the earth as in albuca
Plant Size
  • Large
    Tree18m to 25m
    Shrub3m to 4m
    Perennial/ground cover75cm to 1m
    Bulb80cm to 1.2m
    Succulent1m to 1.5m
  • Canopy Shade Canopy shade is found below closely grown trees where some light filters through. Ideal for the protection of herbaceous plants.
  • Deep / Full Shade Shade below spreading evergreen trees where sun's rays are unable to penetrate the canopy at any time. For light sensitive plants
  • Light or Dappled Shade Found below trees with sparse, open foliage. Ideal for the protection of herbaceous plants.
General Information
  • Deciduous Plants which completely lose their foliage for part of the year.
  • Drought Tolerance: Moderate The plant is moderately adapted to arid conditions and can survive short periods of drought and high temperatures without extra water.
  • Fragrant / Aromatic These plants posses a strong, usually pleasant odour.
  • Frost: Half-hardy The plant is able to survive low temperatures and some frost but requires protection against severe frost.
  • Water Loving Plants need a regular supply of water and must not be allowed to dry out for any length of time.
Specific Information

The bulbs of Crinum Moorei are large, measuring up to 200 mm in diameter. A 'neck' of about 250 mm long extends from the , which lies just below soil level. The long, wide green leaves grow in a rosette shape from the top of the neck. The leaves can be up to 1m long and 200 mm wide! The flower stalk grows up 1,2m tall, topped with 5 to 10 large, slightly drooping flowers. The leaves die off after flowering. This Crinum does not tolerate direct sun. It will tolerate light frost but should be in a sheltered position to protect the dormant bulbs from harm. The flowers are perfumed, more so in the evening.

Crinum Moorei ​is listed as vulnerable, as populations are declining due to harvesting for the medicinal plant trade and the negative effect of the amaryllis caterpillar.

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large trumpet shaped blooms in loose heads on long, sturdy stems

  • Spring to Summer Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
  • pink
  • white
Growth Rate
  • Moderate Specifying growth rate can be very misleading as there is considerable variation of growth rate depending on type and species of plant, available water, supplementary feeding, mulching and general care, as well as the plants suitability and adaptability to the garden environment.
Plant Uses
  • Accent or Focal Point A plant used to attract the attention because of its colour or form.
  • Attracts bees, butterflies or other insects This plant attracts insects which can be food for birds or other creatures in your garden.
  • Container Trees, shrubs and ornamental species that can adapt to growing in a restricted environment.
  • Filler Either a fast growing tree or shrub used temporarily to fill in an area while the permanent plants grow to a desired size, or a plant used to fill gaps in borders or beds.
  • Suitable for coastal gardens Plants adapted to dry, sandy soil, forceful wind, limited rainfall and intense sunlight.
  • Water Features These plants may have dramatic, lush foliage or graceful form. They do not shed excessive leaves and do not have invasive root systems.
Distribution and Habitat

the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape and coastal KwaZulu-Natal as far as Ngome, in coastal, marine and scarp forests, and in damp or marshy places along watercourses

Planting Suggestions

Plant in full or dappled shade in good garden soil, well mixed with compost and fertilizer. Ensure that you leave sufficient space between the bulbs, as they produce new bulbs around the mother quite readily and will become overcrowded after a couple of years. Mulch well. Water deeply and regularly during the months of spring and summer for best results. 

Propagate by carefully removing young bulbs without disturbing the adult bulb if possible. If grown from seed it will be three or four years before they flower. The seeds must be sown  in seed trays immediately after harvesting while they are fresh.

The amaryllis caterpillar is very fond of Crinums ​ and Crinum moorei is said to be top of the lily borer's gastranomic list. Keep a sharp lookout for these pests as they may even bore right down into the bulb and cause long term damage or even the death of the plant. Unfortunately this caterpillar is poisonous and not eaten by birds, so if you want to avoid the used of pesticides, it will be necessary to physically remove them daily until the season is over. Even if you do use poisons, remember that the young caterpillars will survive your efforts, as the newborn caterpillars quickly bore their way into the  leaf where they are protected. Control will have to be kept until the season is over.

Mole rats (not moles!) are also partial to the bulbs at times. 

Medicinal Uses

Crinum Moorei ​is used medicinally for urinary tract infections, to treat cattle, to cleanse the blood, treat infected sores and for acne.

Crinum species have been used traditionally to cure ailments and diseases. Since the alkaloids in the bulbs are highly toxic, the use of Crinum species is not recommended for the uninitiated, as a large dose could easily be fatal.


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i am looking for moore's crinum bulbs. Do you sell them?

Hi Marle

Not since the nursery closed. Click on the 'Shire Wild Bulb Nursery' link on the right, at the bottom of the page, for good quality bulbs at reasonable prices.

Kind regards

Margaret Roberts has an excellent product on the market that controls caterpillars. Very target specific and does not affect anything else. Active ingredient is Bacillus thuringiensis.

This is a plant that I bought from the plant sales section in at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. It was labelled as Crassula "groundcover". I am not sure that this is correct and I am looking for an ID or any information on it.

Hi Klara

Apologies for the tardy reply.

I would say that it is quite likely to be indigenous but as there are well over 250 species and sub species of Crassula in South Africa, as well as a good few that have not even been named, there are only a handful of experts who can find their way through this maze - and even then they don't always agree with each other.

All I can say is yes, it is a crassula and it is most likely indigenous to South Africa.

Kind regards

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