Crocosmia, also known as Montbretia, are widely cultivated as perennial garden plants. There are over 400 varieties. ‘Lucifer’, shown below is an Alan Bloom hybrid. Crocosmia is a genus of about 7 species of plants found in grasslands in South Africa. They are protandrous with pollen released by anthers a few days before stigmas become receptive. Nectar is secreted by nectaries located in the wall of the ovary. They are pollinated by nectar-seeking sunbirds in South Africa but in the UK they attract long-tongued hoverflies searching for nectar. Flies have good colour vision but bees would not be attracted to a red flower.
Individual tubular flowers are on long arching racemes opening from the base progressively. The green ovary is at the base of the flower just where it joins the brown stem.
The plant is a member of the Iris family which includes 2000 species in two main sub-families Crocoideae (Crocus, Crocosmia, Gladiolus and Freesia) and Iridoideae (Iris and Sisyrinchium). All flowers in this family have only 3 stamens and one style which is usually 3-branched.
The plant is a spectacular garden plant in Britain. It grows from corms, which are underground storage organs. New corms form annually and may split off so the plant can spread and become invasive.
An individual flower with most of the petals removed, showing the 3 stamens with vertically opening anthers and the 3-branched style