Chlorophytum saundersiae is a delicate, weeping and grass-like plant.

Delicate, weeping, and grass-like, Chlorophytum saundersiae, can be used to create a soft, meadow-like feel in almost any size garden.

Despite its appearance, is not a grass, and produces masses of small, white starry flowers through the summer months.

It also grows happily in sun or in the partial shade beneath trees.

Family:                                             ASPARAGACEAE              Asparagus family

Sub-family:                                     Agavoideae                        Agave sub-family

Name Derivation:

  • Chlorophytum – ‘chloros’ means green and ‘phyton’ plant, so ‘green plant’, not a very imaginative name.
  • saundersiae – after Katherine Saunders (1824 – 1901), an energetic botanical artist and collector who lived and painted in KZN from 1854.

 Common Names: Weeping anthericum (Eng), watergrass (Afr).


Features of Chlorophytum saundersiae


Forms clumps with long, weeping, grass-like leaves.

Size:            70 cm by 30 cm.

Stem and Bark:   Stemless.

Thorns:   No thorns


  • Evergreen, may frost back in cold weather.
  • The simple leaves long (50 cm) and narrow (1 cm), tapering to a pointed tip.
  • The older leaves are arched away from the plant base.
Chlorophytum saundersiae has long and narrow leaves.

The shape and long, narrow leaves of Chlorophytum saundersiae give the plants a soft, very grass-like, appearance.

The attractive small flowers of Chlorophytum saundersiae are white with yellow stamens.

The attractive small flowers of Chlorophytum saundersiae are white with yellow stamens.


  • Small, white star-shaped flowers with yellow stamens, up to 2 cm wide.
  • Borne on single or branched, long (70 cm), weeping inflorescences.
  • Many flowers are borne along the inflorescence.
  • The flowers open along the inflorescence progressively, the last been the terminal flower.

Colour:         White with yellow stamens.

Flowering Months:     Sep – Mar.

Fragrance:                     Not fragrant.

Fruit:              The fruit is a small, ovoid capsule (1 cm).

Growing Chlorophytum saundersiae

 In the Garden:

  • This plant is a popular and useful groundcover for shady or sunny areas.
  • Planted in mass to create a soft, meadow feel.
  • Well suited as a border plant or to add atmosphere to a water feature or pond.
  • Well suited to containers and planters, where their weeping habit is effective.
  • A very good companion plant for Crocosmia, as they remain green after the Crocosmia leaves die back in winter.

Soil Needs:       Most soil types given plenty compost.


  • A low maintenance garden plant.
  • May need to be cut right back after winter if looking untidy.
  • Be aware that this plant seeds its self freely.

Cold Hardiness:        Semi-hardy.

Water Requirements:          Thrives on regular water in the summer months.

Light Requirements:            Partial shade to full sun.

Space Requirements:

  • 5 per square metre, plant plugs 20 cm apart.

Roots:                   Not aggressive.



Chlorophytum saundersiae forms grass-like clumps.

The soft textures and gentle hues of Chlorophytum saundersiae can be used to create a calming ambience in a garden.

Although small, the flowers of Chlorophytum saundersiae are very elegant.

Although small, the flowers of Chlorophytum saundersiae are very elegant.

Ecology of Chlorophytum saundersiae

Chlorophytum saundersiae inflorescences are sometimes branched.

Chlorophytum saundersiae inflorescences are sometimes branched.

Chlorphytum saundersiae makes a good border to paving.

Chlorphytum saundersiae makes a good border to paving.

Birds:       Insectivorous birds will forage among the plants.

Bees:         Not an important honeybee food plant.

Butterflies and other Insects:

  • Carpenter bees seem to be important pollinators.
  • Adult butterflies and other insects do visit the flowers.

Medicinal:     Not used medicinally

Notes of interest:

  • Previously included in the genus Anthiricum.

Natural Distribution:

  • Found in the north-eastern EC, KZN, and Esw.
  • Endemic to southern Africa (?).

Natural Habitat:

  • Coastal forests and grasslands.


Britannica “Chlorophytum”  Link:

Britannica  “List of plants in the family – Asparagaceae”  Link:

Honig, Marijke  “Indigenous Plant Palettes”  2014  Quivertree Publications  Cape Town

Joffe, Pitta & Oberholzer, Tinus  “Creative Gardening with Indigenous Plants, A South African Guide” 2nd ed. 2012  Briza Publications  Pretoria

Johannsmeier, Anne  “Chlorophytum saundersiae”  2013  Plantza, National Herbarium, Pretoria   Link:

Pooley, Elsa,  “A Field Guide to Wild Flowers of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region”  Natal Flora Publications Trust  Durban

Wikipedia “Chlorophytum_comosum “  Link: org/wiki/Chlorophytum_comosum

© Malcolm Dee Hepplewhite & Witkoppen Wildflower Nursery, (Text and Photographs) 2012 & 2021.