What sets these plants apart from other Bulbines are the peculiar, thread-like, usually coiled leaves. They appear from a flat-based underground tuber and are 3.5-12 cm long and about 1 mm wide. In cultivation they become both wider and straighter.
According to literature the plants occur on sandy and rocky places from Vanrhynsdorp and Calvinia southwards to Sutherland and Clanwilliam. However, all the photos here were taken on our farm near Matjiesfontein, about 100 kms south of Sutherland. The flowers appear from August to October.
Unless they grow in deep shade (they are often found under shrubs), these plants commonly have a sickly orange-brown colour. One regularly sees the same phenomenon in some other species of Astroloba and Haworthia (see H. viscosa). The plants occur from Worcester to Ladismith and can be locally abundant. They are up to 20 cm tall. Doreen Court in her “Succulent flora of southern Africa” mentions a height of 30-80 cm, but this is probably a mistake. The flowers are produced in late spring and summer (Oct.-Feb.).
The picture of the flowers was taken in cultivation (scan from slide).