Scientific name

Crinum L.

Common names

onion plant



Could be confused with

Aponogeton, Triglochin, Vallisneria

Native distribution


Species commonly cultivated

Crinum calamistratum Bogner & Heine (western Camaroon)

C. natans Baker (Guinea to Camaroon to Zaire)

C. thaianum J. Schulze (Thailand)

Adventive distribution

information not available

Weed status

information not available


large, submersed or emergent bulb plant

Brief description

Perennial. Stem compact with bulbous rootstock. Leaves in a basal rosette, sessile, linear, very long and strap-like, flat to highly undulate. Inflorescence an umbel of 1-7 flowers subtended by an involucre composed of two bracts, opening above water surface. Flowers white, showy, bisexual, on erect, elongate pedicel or sessile; perianth of 6 tepals, long-tubular at base, lobes subequal; stamens 6, with long filaments. Dispersal by seed or occasionally by small bulbils produced from main bulb.

Natural habitat

rivers and streams

Additional comments

Crinum is a large genus containing approximately 100 species worldwide. Only 10 species are considered aquatic, while several are associated with wet ground. In the most recent taxonomic investigations of the genus, C. calamistratum is considered as a variety of C. natans and not a separate species.