Common Name: Golden Weather Glass
Hypoxis hygrometrica is a perennial plant producing a cluster of grass-like leaves from a corm-like tuber; it can grow up to 15cm tall, spreading at the roots to form a small clump.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental, valued for its small, open star-shaped flowers[
Plant contains calcium oxalate crystals and can cause mild irritation to the throat if eaten[
]. Thorough cooking destroys the toxin. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet[
Australia - Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and southeast Queensland
Moist positions in grassland and heath[
]. Very common in swampy areas in grassland or in grassy forest clearings[
Hypoxis species are generally not very cold tolerant plants and most species are badly damaged or killed by even light frosts. They will usually grow well in a Mediterranean type of climate with little or no frost[
]. This species is known to tolerate occasional, short-lived frosts with temperatures falling as low as about -5°c, succeeding outdoors only in the mildest and sunniest parts of the temperate zone[
Species in this genus generally require a light, freely draining soil and a position in full sun or light shade[
Hypoxis species greatly resent root disturbance, plants should be placed in their permanent positions as soon as possible and left ndisturbed for as long as possible[
Tuber - raw or cooked[
]. Traditionally it was roasted in ashes[
]. A starchy and earthy taste, with an irritant aftertaste[
]. It is probably inadvisable to eat the root raw due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals, though it should be all right cooked. The corms are more or less cylindrical, around 12 - 30mm long and 4 - 6mm wide[
Seeds are hygrometric and can be used in amateur weather forecasting.
Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Division of off-sets in spring or early autumn.