The plants are thought to increase in number due to overstocking of grazing land. It is interesting that stock animals born and raised in lands infested with these plants are able to recognize and avoid them. Cattle deaths often occur in the winter months when there is no other fresh grazing available. The dried plant material is also toxic and when accidentally incorporated in hay can have disastrous results. A few cases of fatal human poisoning have been reported, where the corms were mistaken for those of edible species, such as Moraea fugax. The toxin has been identified as a cardiac glycoside (heart-poison).
The two species are economically important due to their toxicity. Southern Africa abounds in toxic plants and much time and energy has been devoted to identifying the plants and their toxins by such government organizations as the Veterinary Research Institute at Onderstepoort, Pretoria.