Hesperantha coccinea aka Schizostylis coccinea aka Crimson Flag Lily

This hesperantha is another valuable late flowerer in our garden.  It is actually in the Iridaceae or iris family and not a lily at all, crimson or otherwise.  Coccinea means scarlet which is the flower colour in its natural form.  In cultivation they are available in red, pink and white and there are 50 varieties listed in the RHS Plant Finder.  I must admit that apart from the three colours and a little height and vigour differences they are all pretty similar, unless, I expect, to the real enthusiasts.   It is slightly tender but the principal threat in our garden is that the rhizome is delicious to voles, of which we have many.  When happy it proliferates easily both by division and seed and is extremely promiscuous, hence I suppose the 50 varieties.  Life is much simpler when not worrying about such things and just enjoying the flowers whether pure blood or errant seedling.  It originates from South Africa and Zimbabwe where it grows on river banks and is for this reason also known as the River Lily.  These facts give us an enormous clue as to where it will be happy, yes you’ve guessed it –  damp conditions in full sun.  They make very good cut flowers lasting a fortnight once cut.  I had a rummage around for the label of this one but it seems to have gone the way of all things, it could well be the Jennifer.  On reflection I am pleased that it is now named hesperantha, hopefully this will avoid the usual stammering attempts at pronouncing the tricky and much debated word “schizostylis”.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Hesperantha coccinea aka Schizostylis coccinea aka Crimson Flag Lily

  1. mum

    On this dismal grey day the picture of the Crimson Flag Lily cheered me up.
    Long ay it bloom.

  2. mum

    Correction long may it bloom

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