Corm 1-3 cm in diameter, ovoid to globose, outer tunic brown, fibrous, reticulate, elongating into a neck. Aerial stem 5-35 (-60) cm. Leaves 2, with sheathing tubular basal portion enclosing the stem, lamina linear, 10-38 cm long, 5-8 (-10) mm broad. Aerial stem 6-40 (-60) cm tall, with a terminal and 1-2 lateral, 2-4-flowered inflorescences. Bracts scarious, 35-70 mm, inner shorter or equally long. Perianth (perigone) violet blue, white near base of blade of outer segments somewhat spotted; tube absent. Outer segments 2.5-3.5 cm long, claw narrow; inner segments erect, slightly shorter and narrower. Filaments 4-14 mm long, anther 6-10 mm. Pedicel c. 5 mm. Beak of ovary c. 2 cm long; style c. 5 mm long, split into tepaloid 1.5-2.5 cm erect branches; stigma bilobed. Capsule 1.5-4 cm long. Seeds 1.5-3 mm, subellipsoid, somewhat compressed, black-brown. (E.O.L.)
Throughout Mediterranean regions from Portugal and N. Africa eastwards through Europe, Libya, Egypt to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Russian Central Asia and Pakistan.