Plants hysteranthous, solitary, inflorescence up to 400 mm high. Tuber solitary, pyriform, becoming more horizontal with age and up to 80 mm long, 40 mm wide; skin light brown, smooth, interior white; growing point basal, single to several on larger tubers. Old leaf sheaths up to 100 mm long and up to 7 mm diameter on old plants, usually narrower, becoming broader at ground level and showing a characteristic annulate structure, membranous, brown when young becoming greyish. Leaf solitary. one per growing point, erect; contemporary leaf sheath up to 12 mm exserted, bright maroon red with numerous annular rings and a thin narrow groove on adaxial surface; lamina ovate to broadly lanceolate, base cordate, involute when developing, up to 80 mm long and 35 mm wide, bright green on both surfaces, appearing glabrous but under magnification both surfaces and margin can be seen to be covered with minute white hairs. Pedun cular bracr not visible or up to 2 mm exserted beyond the old sheathing collar, dark purple. Peduncle 120 mm long, 1 mm diameter, purplish, glaucous. Raceme lax, up to 200 mm long and 50 mm wide, with up to 35 flowers. Bracts triangular, 1 mm long. membranous, with a dark purple midnerve. Pedicels up to 32 mm long, less in bud towards the apex. erecto-patent wiry, similar in colour to the peduncle. Flowers spreading to recurved when fully open in the afternoon, about 10 mm diameter. Tepals sub-equal. connate for less than 1 mm at the base, white with a purplish midnerve, mainly on the underside; outer tepals ligulate, 7 mm long, 1.3 mm wide; the inner very narrowly spathulate. 7 mm long, 1.5 mm wide. Filaments erect, equal, adnate to the base of the tepals, filiform. 3.5 mm long, tapering slightly at anther insertion, white; anthers 0.5 mm long, purple. Ovary globose to ovoid, 1.5 mm long, 1.5 mm wide, yellowish-green. Style cylindrical, 3 mm long. white.
This species is very easily recognised in both leaf and flower by the characteristic old leaf sheaths with annular rings
E. patentiflorum is restricted to the Clanwilliam and Vanrhynsdorp areas
Clanwilliam and Vanrhynsdorp areas where it occurs on sandy soils in arid Fynbos.
Flowering time: March.
Leafing period: April to October.
In his protologue Schlechter quotes a specimen of L.C.Leipoldt "in collibus prope villam Clanwilliam alt. 800 ped, April 1897", but he does not designate the herbarium where the specimen was housed. Leipoldt specimens have been located at K, BM, Z and G all with an Herbarium Austro-Africanum label numbered 1984. From the original catalogue of the South African Museum herbarium there is a list of 10 European herbaria to which duplicates were distributed. Schlechter's description covers just the inflorescence. The Leipoldt specimens examined mostly consist only of inflorescences, although the Kew and Geneva specimens have a small label attached, and leaves. Schlechter collected leafing material in August 1897, presumably after he had written his description of the species and submitted it for publication. It is possible that leaves were added to the original Leipoldt sheets from this collection.