Eucomis “Booker’s Beauty” – Pineapple Lily

This fine eucomis has caused a few identification problems.  It was marked at Cliffe as “Zeal Bronze” but when our VNIP came to visit last month he dismissed (in the nicest possible way) this suggestion.  After consultation today with the Rodgersia Queen it appears that it is a product of her plant which has been unofficially, but appropriately, named “Booker’s Beauty”.  And so it is.  This African herbaceous bulb has the common name of Pineapple Lily, due to its tufted flower crown.  It is not, as often seems the case, in the lily family but Asparagaceae.   The name eucomis is from the greek meaning beautiful head of hair, again referring to its barnet.  It is found in the wild in areas of summer rainfall and winter drought. At Cliffe we can provide the summer conditions very easily, the latter has to be achieved by ensuring it lives in well draining soil and mulching to keep off the worst of the weather.   It is late coming into growth in the spring, verging on the summer.  This dramatic interlude is heightened by the fact that its return is not a certainty in our climate and there are frequent ferreting around sessions looking for signs of growth.  It is grown in front of a self seeded bronze fennel and next to the apple yellow Salvia “Golden Delicious” .  Quite beautiful Mrs B.


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