A specific beetle-pollinated group of Moraeas, referred to as the peacock moraeas (Ebrahim, Von Witt & Cohen 2005; Steiner 1998), has six species, all with prominent iridescent nectar guides on the outer petals, resembling the eyes of a peacock. The six species are Moraea aristata (Critically Endangered), M. calcicola (Endangered), M. gigandra (Endangered), M. loubseri (Critically Endangered), M. tulbaghensis (Endangered), and M. villosa (Vulnerable). M. neopavonia was at first considered as the seventh member of the peacock moraeas (Steiner 1998), but this species is now seen as part of M. tulbaghensis.
The Endangered Moraea gigandra (Figure 2) has large, showy purple to deep blue flowers and could easily be regarded as one of the most striking moraeas. Some species such as Moraea ciliata, M. fugax, M. gawleri, and M. tripetala are more widespread. A striking, also widespread, and locally common species is M. bellendenii (Figure 3). This yellow-flowered geophyte is common on sandy slopes and flats in the Western Cape and grows to a height of 50 – 100 cm. The species is multi-branched, with a solitary leaf and due to its height, stands out in natural vegetation.
Given the number of species in the genus Moraea, the different flowering times, as well as the wide range of habitats in which they occur, visitors to CapeNature Reserves have good opportunities to see some examples of this very interesting and striking genus.