Kniphofia Moench

Kniphofia is a genus with ca. 70 species, all distributed in Africa (incl. Madagascar) and Arabia (Mabberley 2008, Ramdhani & al. 2009). Its center of diversity lies in southern Africa. About 11 species and numerous cultivars and hybrids are cultivated as ornamentals (e.g. Droop 1986, Jäger & al. 2008, Whitehouse 2010). Several of these have been recorded as escapes or established throw-outs (see e.g. Stace 2010 for the British Isles or Conran 1987 for Australia). A single taxon, Kniphofia ×praecox Baker, is also known from Belgium.

Molecular studies have confirmed that most of the species in the wild hybridize with each other, blurring the boundaries (Ramdhani & al. 2009). In cultivation only the most distinctive species can be named with any degree of certainty (Whitehouse 2010). It is very probable that pure species are almost no longer present in cultivation (Jäger & al. 2008).


Blackmore S. (1980) The genus Kniphofia (Liliaceae) in Malawi. Nyala 6(2): 115-124.

Codd J. (1968) The South African species of Kniphofia. Bothalia 9(3-4): 363-511.

Codd L.E. (2005) Flora of Southern Africa which deals with the territories of South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia and Botswana. Vol. 5, part 1, fascicle 2. Asphodelaceae (first part): Kniphofia. Pretoria, South African National Biodiversity Institute: v, 94, 5 p.

Conran J.G. (1987) The genus Kniphofia Moench (Aloeaceae) in Australia. Muellaria 6(5): 307-310.

Cufodontis G. (1972) Bemerkungen über die Gattung Kniphofia und Beschreibung einer neuen Art aus Aethiopiën. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien 75: 39-41.

Dressler S., Schmidt M. & Zizka G. (2014) Kniphofia. African plants – a Photo Guide. Frankfurt/Main: Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg.

Droop S.J.M. (1986) Kniphofia. In: Walters S.M. & al. (eds.), The European Garden Flora, vol. 1. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 144-146.

Jäger E.J., Ebel F., Hanelt P. & Müller G. (eds.) (2008) Rothmaler Band 5. Exkursionsflora von Deutschland. Krautige Zier- und Nutzpflanzen. Springer Verlag, Berlin: 880 p.

Kativu S. (1997) Asphodelaceae of the flora Zambesiaca area. Kirkia 16(1): 27-53.

Kelaidis P. (1997) Kniphofia notes. Rock Gard. Quart. 55(2): 122-130.

Mabberley D.J. (2008) Mabberley’s plant-book (3th ed.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: XVIII + 1021 p.

Marais W. (1973) The tropical species of Kniphofia (Liliaceae). Kew Bull. 28: 465-483.

Müssel H. (1991) Kniphofia – altbekannt, doch wenig vertraut. Gartenpraxis 10: 22-26.

Ramdhani S. (2007) Evolutionary and biogeographic studies in the genus Kniphofia Moench (Asphodelaceae). PhD thesis,  Rhodes University, Faculty of Science, Botany. [available online at:]

Ramdhani S., Barker N.P. & Baijnath H. (2006) Phylogenetics of the genus Kniphofia Moench (Asphodelaceae). In: Ghazanfar S.A. & Beentje H.J. (eds.), Taxonomy and Ecology of African Plants: their conservation and sustainable use (Proceedings of the 17th AETFAT Congress): 559-573. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Ramdhani S., Barker N.P. & Baijnath H. (2008) Exploring the Afromontane centre of endemism: Kniphofia Moench (Asphodelaceae) as a floristic indicator. Journal of Biogeography 35: 2258-2273. [available online at:]

Ramdhani S., Barker N.P. & Baijnath H. (2009) Rampant non-monophyly of species in Kniphofia Moench (Asphodelaceae) suggests a recent Afromontane radiation. Taxon 58: 1141-1152. [available online at:]

Stace C. (2010) New flora of the British Isles, 3th ed.: XXXII + 1232 p. Cambridge University Press.

Taylor J. (1985) Kniphofia – a survey. The Plantsman 7(3): 129-160.

Whitehouse C.M. (2002) Flora of Tropical East Africa. Asphodelaceae. Rotterdam, A.A. Balkema: 19 p.

Whitehouse C. (2010) Pick of the pokers. RHS Trial. Plantsman 9(3): 146-153. [available online at:]

Whitehouse C. (2016) Kniphofia. The complete guide. RHS, London: 440 pp.

Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith