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Ferraria crispa Burm.
Black Flag

Nova Acta Phys.-Med.Acad.Caes.Leop.-Carol.Nat.Cur. 2:199-201,Tab.3,Fig.1 (1761)
Conservation Code
Not threatened
Naturalised Status
Alien to Western Australia
Name Status

Malodorous cormous, perennial, herb, to 0.6 m high. Fl. purple-black-brown, Jul to Nov. Grey sand, loam, limestone. A garden escape, dunes, road verges, wasteland.

Amanda Spooner, Descriptive Catalogue, 15 August 2007


IBRA Regions
Avon Wheatbelt, Esperance Plains, Geraldton Sandplains, Jarrah Forest, Swan Coastal Plain, Warren.
IBRA Subregions
Fitzgerald, Geraldton Hills, Katanning, Merredin, Northern Jarrah Forest, Perth, Southern Jarrah Forest, Warren.
IMCRA Regions
Local Government Areas (LGAs)
Albany, Armadale, Augusta Margaret River, Bridgetown-Greenbushes, Busselton, Cambridge, Capel, Chapman Valley, Cockburn, Cunderdin, Goomalling, Harvey, Mandurah, Mundaring, Murray, Nedlands, Northampton, Perth, South Perth, Stirling, Three Springs, Victoria Park, Wanneroo, Waroona, Wickepin.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)

General Biology. Growth form. Geophyte. Life form. Perennial corm. Reproduction. Primarily corms, also seed. Dispersal. Soil movement, water. Time to first flowering. 2 years. Seedbank persistence. Short, 1 year. Fire response. Generally survives fire.

Notes. Flowers last for one day only. Produces seed from self pollination. Pollinated by flies. Flowers produce a strong pungent scent. Each year plants produce new corms that are added to a column of dormant corms produced in previous years. There can be 15-20 corms in a single column.

Additional information. Origin. South Africa. History of use/introduction. Garden escape.

Suggested method of management and control. Hand remove very small populations in degraded sites. Sift soil to find all corms. Spray 2,2 DPA 10 g/L + Pulse® when flowering. In degraded sites try glyphosate 1% + metsulfuron methyl 0.2 g/15 L + Pulse®. Takes a number of years to control populations. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.

Management Calendar

Calendar Type Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Comments
Dormant Y Y Y                 Y  
Active Growth       Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y    
Flowering               Y Y Y      
Fruiting                   Y Y    
Optimum Treatment               Y Y        

Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.



  • Brown, K. & Bettink, K. (2010) Black Flag (Ferraria crispa Burm.) is a difficult to control and persistent invader of Banksia/Eucalypt Woodland in south-west Australia. Ecological Management and Restoration, 11 (3): 228-30.
  • Brown, K. & Brooks, K. (2002) Bushland Weeds: A Practical Guide to their Management. Environmental Weeds Action Network, Greenwood.
  • Claughton, A. (2004) The ecology and management of the invasive black flag (Ferraria crispa) in Bold Park. Honours Thesis, Land and Water Management University of Western Australia..
  • Du Plessis, N. & Duncan G. (1989) Bulbous plants of Southern Africa. Tafelberg Publishers Ltd, Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Goldblatt, P., Bernhardt, P. & Manning, J.C. (2009) Adaptive radiation of the putrid perianth: Ferraria (Iridaceae: Irideae) and its unusual pollinators. Journal Plant Systematics and Evolution, 278 (1): 53-65.
  • Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Dodd, J., Lloyd, S.G. & Cousens, R.D. (2007) Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. 2nd Edition. The Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Victoria Park.
  • van Kleunen, M., Manning, J.C., Pasqualetto, V. & Johnson, S.D. (2008) Phylogenetically independent associations between autonomous self-fertilization and plant invasiveness. The American Naturalist, 171 (2): 195-201.