The flowers of the greater cobra lily, which bloom from July until September (2), have adapted to pollination by sunbirds (Nectarinia species). The elongated, tubular structure, the bright colours, and the protruding stamens and style, are all designed to ensure that pollen is deposited on the sunbird, or pollen from another plant is rubbed off, as the sunbird inserts its long bill to feed on the relatively large quantities of nectar (4).
The greater cobra lily not only uses birds to carry out pollination, but also to disperse the seeds that are produced following pollination and fertilisation. While the seeds have no fleshy covering or nutritious value, their bright orange colour attracts birds to eat them. The seeds pass through the bird’s digestive system relatively undamaged, to be excreted some distance from the parent plant (4).