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Like all other Lachenalia species, L. orchioides is a typical winter-growing bulb that is summer-deciduous, i.e. it becomes completely dormant during the hot dry summer months in the Mediterranean-type climate of the Western Cape. It consists of a single white fleshy bulb about 10–20 mm in diameter, fine white adventitious roots, and two strap-like lanceolate leaves up to 150 mm long. In some individuals these leaves are covered in dark blotches, whereas in others they are plain green.
The genus Lachenalia is generally restricted to the winter-rainfall parts of South Africa and Namibia. L. orchioides is found in the southern Western Cape.