Seventeen distinct pollination systems are known for genera of sub-Saharan African Iridaceae and recurrent shifts in pollination system have evolved in those with ten or more species. Pollination by long-tongued anthophorine bees foraging for nectar and coincidentally acquiring pollen on some part of their bodies is the inferred ancestral pollination strategy for most genera of the large subfamilies Iridoideae and Crocoideae and may be ancestral for the latter. Derived strategies include pollination by long-proboscid flies, large butterflies, night-flying hovering and settling moths, hopliine beetles and sunbirds. Bee pollination is diverse, with active pollen collection by female bees occurring in several genera, vibratile systems in a few and non-volatile oil as a reward in one species. Long-proboscid fly pollination, which is apparently restricted to southern Africa, includes four separate syndromes using different sets of flies and plant species in different parts of the subcontinent. Small numbers of species use bibionid flies, short-proboscid flies or wasps for their pollination; only about 2 % of species use multiple pollinators and can be described as generalists.