Peruvian Lily
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Peruvian Lily
ntroduced Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Peruvian lily, Lily-of-the-Incas, Parrot lily, Parrot flower
Botanical name: Alstroemeria spp.    Family: Liliaceae (Lily family)

Alstroemeria, commonly called the Peruvian Lily or Lily of the Incas, is a South American genus of about 50 species of flowering plants, mainly from cool, mountainous regions in the Andes. It was named after the Swedish baron Clas Alströmer (Claus von Alstroemer) by his close friend Carolus Linnaeus. People often think they are orchids (which they are not) They grow from clusters of white peanut-sized tubers arranged like the spokes of a wagon wheel. In the spring, they send up 8-12 in stalks that have the general character of an upright Solomon's seal with the foliage clustered in a little umbrella at the top of the stem. Although the stem is arrow-straight and the foliage is held in a horizontal position, the glistening parallel-veined pale green leaves tend to curl under at the edges and droop at the ends and always look a bit limp. As the season progresses, the stem elongates to 18-30 in and the leaves (now looking more twisted than limp) appear to spread out along its length in a stretched out spiral arrangement. Early in the summer, clusters of red flowers appear at the stem tips. The tubular 1-2 in flowers look like distorted azalea blossoms that are struggling to open. The ragged uneven petal edges curl slightly inward instead of flaring outward.

Photographs from Delhi, Ooty & Kerala.

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