Montbretia, also known as Star of the East, is a garden hybrid of C. aurea and C. pottsii that was first bred in 1880. Both of the parent species, and in fact all 7 species of Crocosmia, are originally from South Africa where they grow in moist grasslands. This invasive species is a perennial that blooms in late Summer with colourfully abundant sprays of orange or gold star-shaped flowers. The base consists of a corm, a swollen underground stem that lasts one year. Montbretia is part of the Iridaceae family and thrives in warm, south-facing locations with good drainage. It is clump-forming and grows to approx. 60cm. These fiery looking flowers can be seen around sea-cliffs as well as grassy-banks and less commonly found inland.
Most reproduction is vegetative from underground corms and long creeping rhizomes however small pieces of root eagerly become established in the wild, hence why Montbretia is considered an invasive species and can require horticultural removal or control. They can spread rapidly, resulting in compact stands at the exclusion of all other vegetation. It’s growing at an alarmingly rapid pace and is particularly frequent in the west and around coasts; in western Ireland whole roadsides can be thickly overgrown for miles on end.